Monday, May 2, 2016

Marriage Advice for You & Your Instrument

Marriage Advice For You & Your Instrument

When you consider the amount of time, commitment, expectation, memories, and love you and your instrument experience together, more often than not, it can feel like a marriage!  Though your instrument cannot literally reciprocate all of the wonderful aspects of marriage (like affection, companionship, playfulness, understanding, and support) OR the sometimes frustrating aspects of marriage (like different moods, different schedules, different perspectives), you might sometimes feel like it does.  If you've ever felt like you and your instrument are in a dysfunctional relationship with one another, try using these three marriage strategies to practice getting back on track in a positive, productive, and loving relationship.  

1) Let go of expectations. 

Can you imagine a marriage in which both partners had total and complete appreciation for one another?  How would it feel to be in a relationship in which everything you did was "the right thing?"  Instead of holding tight to expectations (which can often lead to disappointment), dedicate yourself to curiosity, fascination, and appreciation instead!  Just like a real life marriage partner, you may find that your instrument starts responding in easier and more pleasant ways when it is feeling loved and supported.  

2) Instead of blaming, work on yourself.

If there's something really wrong with your instrument (like a torn pad, an old cork, a missing screw, etc.), then, just like you would take a spouse to the doctor, be sure to take your instrument to the repair shop.  If, however, your instrument is in good repair, remember to examine yourself, your fundamentals, and your practice habits before blaming your instrument for something that might need to be fixed in you.  When the temptation to blame your instrument arises, see it as an opportunity for personal growth.    

3) Give instant and total do-overs.  

Sometimes, even the most loving set of partners can find themselves smack dab in the middle of an awful fight.  Similarly, you might realize that you and your instrument have unknowingly slipped into a frustrating, dead end scenario in which no desired practice results could be available.  Whether it's a real life partner or your instrument, never be shy or hesitant about giving yourself and your partner instant and total do-overs!  

A do-over means a fresh start.  A complete retake.  A chance to go forward as if nothing bad, hurtful, or frustrating ever happened.  So often, when you're in the middle of an argument, your brain will simply keep manufacturing reasons to stay "on your side" just to perpetuate the point you were originally trying to make, even when new understanding is available.  Instead of falling into this ego trap, try a do-over by taking a cleansing breath, changing your perspective, and remembering all the wonderful things you love about your partner.  You will be surprised at the amazing things that can be created in the moments of relief when a fight is simply dissolved instead of played out.  

As a recovering stressed out perfectionist, I know both my husband and my flute definitely appreciate my dedication to the three marriage strategies I've described in this post! ;-)

Happy Practicing!
Terri Sánchez

P.S. Having trouble giving you and your instrument partner instant and total do-overs?  Try reading Failing Up: A Flutist's Guide to a No Matter What Fresh Start.