Playing tunes subconsciously


Playing music subconsciously

Playing fiddle music subconsciously
Photo ©Ros Gasson

We spent some time tonight thinking about making a shift from thinking consciously about the mechanics while we’re playing tunes, to playing music while just thinking about the sound of the tune we are playing, and allowing the subconscious to ‘take charge’ of how that happens. Once we’ve learnt some basic techniques, we need to find a way to start to focus on the sound we are producing. We’re aiming to begin to hear the tune in our head, the way we would like it to sound, as we’re playing it. Ultimately the mechanics of creating the sounds become so automatic that hearing¬† a tune in this way becomes enough to allow us to automatically play it the way we are hearing it. It’s a process we go through for any new skill we learn. At some point, the new skill becomes a subconscious action, and at that point, the action flows much more smoothly than when we were consciously thinking about how to make it happen. The subconscious brain is an amazing thing when it comes to playing music!

One of the ways we can start to make this shift is to play without looking at our fingers. In the class, we’ve been trying out playing while standing in a circle, thinking about the tune, and looking at the other fiddlers in the group, rather than our own hands.

We learnt the Gordon Duncan tune ‘The High Drive’ in the class tonight. There are several different versions of this tune around. The music for the version we learnt in the class is on the website music page. The original tune is written with 4 parts, but all four parts are rarely played in sessions. It’s commonly played as a two part reel.

We had a bit of a chocolate-fest in the break!

We ended the evening playing through a number of tunes together.

Thanks to everyone who has been in the class this term. It’s been a lot of fun, and a lovely group to teach.

Enrolment for the spring term starts on 10th December. Contact the office at St Bride’s for more information. The new term will start on Tuesday 8th January 2013, and will run for 12 weeks (without a mid-term break) until Tuesday 26th March. I hope to see you then!