Iaido

Friday Fun Link #15 & A List to Make Your Head Spin

My head’s starting to spin again. This week, I’ve been organizing next week’s Piano Group Class (a behind the scenes tour of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium), preparing for Monday’s Calgary ARMTA Executive meeting (Barb, I’ll get my reports done before Saturday!), reminding and coaching students and their parents to register for their piano/theory exams and the APTA Music Festival, creating contracts with milestones for the exam students, parents and I to commit to, restraining myself from screaming at students who don’t practice (and trying not to look bored when they stumble through a piece they’ve had for far too long), fielding calls from parents looking for a piano teacher, fielding calls from brides looking for wedding music and trying very hard to keep up with lesson planning, practicing and paperwork. All this while dealing with a dog with a bad case of sniffles (but really wants his walkies), a short story contest deadline looming, passing along sad news to my fellow U of L music alum (and then trying to track down contact info for classmates who are MIA), re-recording a student whose recital performance was full of static, looking for Iaido clothing that fits petite women, designing a photo waiver for the Iaido Club, practicing Iaido, getting used to life without a car (retired to Car Heaven), setting up networking lunches, dealing with a weird company about digestive enzymes that caused a nasty reaction and what else? Housecleaning. Whoa. I am out of breath just reading that. Now that is called a run-on sentence. I certainly need a Friday Fun Link to lighten the mood. This week’s link is CyberParodies. I’m listening to “Carbs” (a parody on “Cars”). Pretty wacky, just like my list.

And that’s that. Back to paperwork, practicing and practicing. Have a good weekend everyone!

© 2006, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

I’ve got rhythm…do you?

" Rhythm is everywhere. It surrounds us constantly in our environment and lives continuously within us." ~ Craig Cooke, CEO and Co-Founder, Rhythm Interactive, Inc.

I found this particular quote apropos for this week. Rhythm is extremely important in music but have you ever noticed rhythms in your everyday activities and environment?

From the soft breathing of a sleeping baby to a car alarm blaring in the night; from an egg jiggling in a pot of boiling water to Maestro’s “roll-roll-check” rhythm to force treats out of his Have-A-Ball -- these steady rhythms are soothing and comforting. They give us a point of reference.

I began studying the martial art of Iaido this month. Right away, I learned that there is much to gain by figuring out a steady rhythm to my movements. For instance, it takes five beats for me to complete a basic cut with my bokuto (wooden sword) and ten to complete first half of hajime no saho (beginning etiquette). The steadier the beat, the more fluid my movements became. The more fluid I became, the closer I came to attaining a state of mushin (no thought). Yes, it’s active meditation. I won’t dare go further because I am still learning the basics and don’t want to lead anyone astray.

Most people pay little or no attention to the rhythm in their lives. Only when the rhythm is off do they notice. A dancer automatically stumbles if the music is cut off suddenly or changes speed, a student may forget her lines in Romeo & Juliet if she hears a noise, while a daily commuter will notice the difference in the flow of traffic on the way to work if he wakes up ten minutes late.

As I say to my students, pay attention to the rhythm. Teachers often ask students to tap out tricky rhythms before they even attempt to play the notes. For if they don’t have the rhythm right from the beginning – it will always be off.

© Musespeak™, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All rights reserved.