November 7, 2012

No Artifice, Part One

Posted in Creativity, self-consciousness tagged , , at 1:17 pm by Rebecca Hein

In cello playing, the best results are almost always obtained through a complete lack of control. This assumes that you’ve practiced your pieces to perfection so that your reflexes, when set free, will perform with no restrictions, not even the effort to get the notes right.

Practicing also goes better when you let your muscles work with as little interference as possible from your conscious mind. Thus you’ve created the conditions for natural motions, unimpeded by artifice.


July 4, 2012

Evaluating Your Own Work, Part One

Posted in self-consciousness, self-evaluation tagged , at 2:24 pm by Rebecca Hein

To evaluate our own writing is one of the most difficult tasks we face. Not only must we figure out if the quality of our writing is good enough, we also have to discern whether or not the content is right.

Did your plot take the right direction? If you’re writing nonfiction, were the ideas stated clearly?

As one of my cello teachers observed, “Listening to your own playing is like looking into a mirror: you can’t judge your work the way you could somebody else’s.”

May 30, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part Four

Posted in performance, Practice Writing, self-consciousness tagged at 2:30 pm by Rebecca Hein

Seasoned musicians know that even the most thorough practicing can’t prepare them for the spontaneity of a performance. This is both good and bad, of course, because all your preparations insure you as much as possible against the accidents that can occur in front of an audience. Yet you want an element of unpredictability or your performance will be dull.

In writing, when we know that an editor or agent will be reading our work, we freeze. Yet with enough practice at writing in this self-conscious state, we learn that the fun of storytelling and ideas can take over and even produce some of our best work precisely because we know somebody will be “listening.”

May 16, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part Two

Posted in self-consciousness, Writer's Block tagged , , at 4:42 am by Rebecca Hein

When you know your story, essay, or poem is going to be read by someone other than yourself, this changes the writing process. You become self-conscious and start wondering if your writing is any good, or if you’re making mistakes you aren’t going to catch.

Yet there’s another side to this: the fun of sharing your ideas, or the sense of mischief you get from telling a funny story, or just the satisfaction of articulating what you have to say.

May 9, 2012

The Dual Nature of Performance, Part One

Posted in performance, self-consciousness, Writer's Block tagged , at 4:37 am by Rebecca Hein

Excitement or stage fright: which is it going to be? In musical performance, often I don’t know until I’m in front of the audience.

Even if I’ve been nervous beforehand, sometimes I’m rock-solid onstage, and my playing has that sparkle of energy that hardly ever occurs in practicing because nobody’s listening.

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