Music, Mind, and Running
‘When I do not practice for one day, I notice, if I do not practice for two days the audience notices’.
It is reputed that when composers visited Mozart for lessons, his first instruction was to ask the composers to write out all the scales! (if you are a musician, you know that there are a lot of scales to learn), insulted, but daring not to challenge the maestro they began the task. People assumed that Mozart had some secret knowledge but this was not the case, the notes were the same, scales the same but his knowledge ran deep, connections made between areas of expression and areas of composition. Could you really have a lesson with a genius and become a better composer? What Mozart was getting at was clear; know the fine detail, know the basics, without these then the building you construct through your knowledge is poor, out of sorts and not connected. He is also reputed to have said;
‘it easier to play fast than it is to play slow, you can make mistakes playing at speed and no-one notices but is that music?
The two quotes combined give an insight as to what mastery is and how we need to ensure that our efforts are directed to maximise our talent; the first quote is about recognising the need for practice every day; the mind is an amazing organ but the two examples cited above indicate that without practice, focus and purpose it loses it edge; you may for example (as an ex golfer) see a great shot and know exactly how to achieve it but repeating it is not the same; the sub conscious mind has lost the connection between the conscious physical mind of choice and awareness. Physical activities such as swimming are the same, swimmers complete many lengths a day to help their body/mind connection between themselves and the water to be fully activated. As an ex swimmer (as well:) )you lose the feel of the water if you are even a few days away from the pool. Likewise running is not all about running hard or interval training; much training occurs on the long slow/easy running days where you keep the mind sharp and concentrate on running technique.
Control, exertion, focus, alignment and one pointedness are at the heart of many creative things. I know Professors of Mathematics, Musicians, Artists and Authors; they all exude control; Controlling of your thoughts and giving it direction. Exertion; when to give the ‘right effort’; Focus, the ability to bring into play all your abilities to solve, create or achieve. Alignment, the idea that we need balance and harmony to maximise our impact and influence and finally One pointedness, that ability to scrutinise a key issue that matters.
So the ChiRunning technique is not bio-mechanical only, you can tell from my BLOGs the land where I come from but it is good to practice life-affirming qualities that define who we are and learn a little of what it would be like to be a ‘Mozart’.