Just like the REO Speedwagon song, there’s a lot of feeling that you just can’t fight in the middle of a performance and you shouldn’t.
I was thrilled and honored when my brother-in-law asked me to play for his wedding. His fiance’s mother, a music teacher and violinist, would be playing with me.
In my own family, I’ve always been asked to play for happy and sad occasions. I sang for my brother’s wedding and I played my flute at both my grandfathers’ funerals. Honoring and connecting to someone I love in this way has become a way of expressing happiness or dealing with grief.
My husband and I have been married for almost 9 and a half years, so I’m close to his family. I knew that I wouldn’t be emotionally removed from the happiness of the occasion especially since I had grown close to the bride over the course of the past year.
These kinds of performances are the best way to witness and examine what happens when you’re caught up in the moment as you’re playing. If you feel a strong rush of emotion, how can you stick with it without overpowering your ability to perform? How can you use it to communicate more effectively with the people you’re trying to touch and move with the music?
In the Alexander Technique and other somatic disciplines like Feldenkrais, there is no judgment but only simple acknowledgement of your movement. You can inhibit the movement and change your habit with direction, but the reminder to be present is a valuable lesson that carries into any facet of life.
So, as I played with the bride’s mother during the ceremony, I let myself feel and as I felt myself beginning to fight the emotion so that I could continue playing, I acknowledged my feelings and let myself stay present. It was wonderful and I’m happy I could give my music to my brother-in-law and his new wife.