I’ll be shooting for:
A circle of trust
A tempo of patience
A practice of repetition
weaving new neural pathways takes its own sweet time
A culture of play
once we’ve got it, we play with it until we’ve really got it
A sacred humility
Briony to teacher: “How did your concert go last night?”
Teacher: “It went well, thank you. God turned up. If God doesn’t turn up, everyone’s in trouble.”
When we improvise, my first teacher Atul Upadhye taught me, God sings through us. It comes like a wild train. As practicing musicians, we lay train tracks with humility and patience. The more tracks we lay, the further the God train can go. When we’re ready to play, we get comfortable, invite, begin to follow, and at the end, we say thank you.
For Indian classical musicians, improvisation is God singing through us.
For Zimbabwean Shona musicians, improvisation is the Ancestors singing through us.
For me, it’s Nature. Music is given to us; it is the meeting of human action and nature’s magnificence. For our part, we cultivate the quality of our action, and of our presence.
This becomes a never ending journey, that of being a musician.