Why I play music (I think); the Inner Game not just for tennis players, it’s for everyone!
I had a teacher that told me to read this book. They hadn’t read it, but I learned that the things that this teacher didn’t do, but suggested, became more important to my development than, and obviously, they would have known. I like to read books and I like to analyze things: Social behaviors, interactions, body language, tone of voice, my own actions, and unfortunately others. I try so hard not to be judgmental and I swear that I am getting better, but it’s so hard to do. I used to say, “I am not judgmental, just very observant”. To some degree I still hold on to that motto. In my opinion there is a very fine line that can be crossed easily between distinguishing the two, or operating out of judgement which is really a terrible thing to do. So, while reading this list of “sub games” we play, I couldn’t help but think about others that I interact with musically while I was taking a break from scrutinizing my own actions.
It is easy for me to say that I want to play music just for the “fun” of it, but in reality, if I am really real and objective with my self I am afraid that I could throw a dart at most of these and at any given moment be guilty of wanting to be the best, to seek approval, to please arbitrary goals that I have just decided to heap upon my poor nervous system; I play for fun a lot (I really do) and I love to play with friends, but sometimes I want them to think that I am really something great. Giminy crackers that list could just keep going! I don’t find this all to be hopeless or self deprecating and it’s not all bad as far as I am concerned. At the place I am in right now with my life I can’t change much of these analyzations, but I can free myself up to over come them with awareness, work and time. The way I look at it is that I am going to be a musician for the rest of my life, I may become popular and I might not; I may continue to be a teacher (at higher levels) or get a symphony gig that I have to stay relevant and keep my chops up to not lose status. These things are unavoidable as far as I am concerned, and I will have to operate within them no matter where I end up. I would rather have a mixed bag of reasons why I play music than just because I want to be the best or that I find the attention I desire (see, I am almost being judgmental as I write). I don’t have any of my own answers or fixes, but I do know that if you read this book you will understand yourself better, why you do what you do and how you can improve yourself with out beating your poor insides up with ridiculous thoughts and emotions because of how well you perform. I shared these pages because they sum up a lot of the book, but you have to read it all to get the depth of what is happening. I love the quote at the end from W. Timothy Gallwey:
But who said that I am to be measured by how well I do things? In fact, who said that I should be measured at all?…What is required to disengage oneself from this trap is a clear knowledge that the value of a human being cannot be measured by performance–or any other arbitrary measurement. Like Jonathan L. Seagull, are we not an immeasurable energy in the process of manifesting, by degrees, and unlimited potential? Is this not so of every human and perhaps every life form? If so, it doesn’t really make sense to measure ourselves in comparison with other immeasurable beings. In fact, we are what we are: we are not how well we happen to perform at any given moment.
You will have to read more. I would love your feedback and I hope that you are enlightened by reading this and thinking deeply about yourself. This book not only helped me musically, it helped my golf game a lot as well! If you have read Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner, you will see some parallels. That is another must read if you have the time.
**I think that reading this book about tennis is more important than reading the one about music (make your own discovery).