Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Flying on Air

After two solid months of practice, I finally got to the point where I can play Bach's, Air.  My fingers know their way, my mind hears the three voices and can speak fluidly all three, and my ears know the rhythm and the feel.



Playing it last night, I had an epiphany about why it's called, Air.   When everything's working together, almost thoughtlessly, something in you really starts to feel like it's flying.  Is it your spirit?  Your mind?  It feels like it's your whole body.

You're flying on Air.  


It's not floating either--it's flying, and there's a difference.  Floating is what the listener gets to do, flying is what the musician is doing.

If someone was sitting listening to me play the song, they'd probably think it's pretty simple: a beautiful, simple song.  They wouldn't know how long it took to teach my left hand to play staccato while my right hand sang in legato.  (The wings) They might not understand it took hours to map a course my fingers could navigate without tripping (The coordination of the wings to fly), or that it was learned, not measure by measure, but note by note (the strength of the wings to bear the body up).



That's the way it is with horses, too.  To the observer, it looks like we're just walking a calm horse, or grooming a gentle horse, or riding a cooperative horse, and it probably seems so simple.  It's not their fault--how could they understand the countless lessons, the infinite amount of lessons learned to make it look that way.

When I took a break from horses and had kids, upon my return I realized how little I'd actually known when I was young.  I remember how humbling it felt to see a "master" work with horses.  They'd see things I missed, they'd accomplish things I thought were impossible--I felt deaf, dumb and blind, but I decided I wanted to learn about horses more than anything else in the world and I knew, even as I decided it, that I could spend the rest of my life learning and never come close to learning it all.

That was okay with me then and it still is now.  Every horse is like a new song and the ability to "fly" with that horse is not earned without time and dedication.  No one will ever know the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years spent learning the song, but they'll know a partnership when they see it, and probably think it came easy.

Yesterday was very cold, so I didn't have a TTouch lesson, but the day before, I did work with Beautiful and Cowboy.  Cowboy seems to get so much from each session and lately I haven't seen him stand with his bad foot out at all.  Dare I hope?  Beautiful, born in the wild and always on high-alert, with a little rubbing of the wand from neck to hoof, has learned to bring her head down, relax and think.  Will this be one of her missing pieces?  I don't have the answers, but I know I love the journey...the song....practicing, learning and, every once in a while, feeling like I'm flying.




21 comments:

  1. A post beautifully written. You've captured the essence of music and horses in your prose. The song of horses is a lovely one to sing, it may take a lifetime to learn but learning is the song.

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  2. p.s. congratulations on your piano accomplishment too!

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  3. GHM--thank you! It has definitely been its own reward. I know you're producing a lot of wonderful music your way, too. ;)

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  4. Beautiful post. I love Bach. His music is so easy to listen to while at the same time it's often very complicated structurally. Good analogy with horses. Enjoying the journey is more important than reaching the destination.

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  5. Amen! Bach is my favorite composer by far. I can't play the piano (played violin and viola when I was younger) but my kids took lessons and I so appreciate the time and skill involved. And the journey with horses -- for sure, for sure. I'm realizing it all over again as I get to know Winston and we work on all those things that build to having a sweet, easy horse.

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  6. What a beautiful post, Linda. When you talk about the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months of time, time, that go into your music, your horses, I realized that it's more than increments of time. It's a life, your life, living your passions. Keep soaring!

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  7. Beautiful post that made me think! Joanne is absolutely right. It is life, anyone's life, who works hard and learns to fly!

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  8. What an exquisite way you have of putting your thoughts in words, Linda! There is such joy and an appreciation for life itself coming through. Thank you!

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  9. Loved this post! Congratulations on playing Air. An accomplishment you should be proud of.

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  10. Hi from Italy =)
    really nice blog!

    keep in touch
    www.iconadeironchi.com
    www.facebook.com/IconaDeiRonchi

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  11. Beautiful post and great analogy. Music escapes me. I tried to learn to play the piano as an adult. The most I accomplished was a very simple version of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly". I have an inkling of how much effort it takes to be truly accomplished. My stepdaughter plays beautifully. I admire anyone who plays the piano. And I admire the accomplished horsemen/women out there too. I will keep practicing ... horsemanship, that is. I gave up the piano when I had to sell mine to fund a cross country move. I do have a mountain dulcimer I would like to learn to play. But when it comes to music, I'm afraid the radio is my best instrument.

    Thanks for reading my little story for Saturday Centus.

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  12. Sandra, it is about the journey. For me, playing the piano and my horse life are very much about the daily intrinsic rewards. I can't imagine what life would be like without either of them. All I can think is it would be BAD! ;)

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  13. Annette, you are definitely starting a new song with Winston. I've really enjoyed reading about it. For some reason, he reminds me of Cowboy. I think it's a look in the eye in some of the pictures you've posted.

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  14. Joanne--I can't wait to get a copy of and read your book. I'm sure its culmination is as much like flying as playing Air! I can see all the love you've poured into the process through the website, the mini-movies...all the little details you've surrounded it with as you get ready to let it fly from the nest.

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  15. Sonya, that's absolutely, 100 percent true. It's the same with anyone's hard work and effort. You're so lucky if you can find your passion in life--that thing that you want to spend all your time doing and count as blessing rather than a chore.

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  16. Thank you, Laura! Those things really do give me my joy....they always have. I had to go without a piano once for a few months and I about went NUTS! I was young and broke and just moved out on my own. I went to an auction and found an old upright for $50.00 (I had that for about 20 years) and I've never been without one again! I even rent time on one when I'm in Gig Harbor. It's like an addiction. A good one!

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  17. Thank you, Wolfie. I'm really, really happy about it. I wanted to play it 3 years ago when I first started back to lessons and it was beyond my ability. I had to shelf it. This New Years my piano teacher asked me what I wanted to accomplish and I said, I want to play Air! She figured I was ready to try again, and apparently, I was. So, I really could not be any happier. I love the piece to pieces. Love it, love it, love it!

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  18. Hi Gaia! Welcome to the blog. Looks like you're a fellow horsewoman! Hope you'll chime in and add your experiences to the collective wisdom!

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  19. Once Upon an Equine--that you wanted to play enough to take lessons as an adult says a lot about you. I spent seventeen years playing popular songs and largely avoiding classical music. I used to be more interested in learning left hand fills--variations of chords and writing my own music. There's nothing wrong with that at all. Those were some of the best years of my life musically even if I wasn't playing like a concert pianist. At this point in my life, I've enjoyed the technical challenges of these pieces only because I got somewhat bored of myself after 17 years and was writing music that all sounded the same. I've been back in lessons for the last 3 years--unlearning some of my lazy habits and learning many better ones. I'm not a great technical player...at all, but I do love to practice and learn. I hope you'll stick with the piano, too!!

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  20. Beautiful analogy. As a person who played piano and flute and have tried to get back to where I was, I have discovered how hard it is to get the old hands and mind to cooperate. I have always believed that the best riders were the ones who made it look so easy. They have worked a long time to get to that point.

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  21. Maery Rose, you're absolutely right. The best are the ones who make it look easy. I bought an untrained filly once--a mustang actually--who hadn't been lead or trailered and liked to rear up and strike. An old cowboy came to trailer and load her for me one day and he did it effortlessly. I asked him how he did it and he said he just looked forward (not back) and walked her by a branch on a tree and let it rub against her so that she was thinking about it and not the trailer--and up she went. I didn't notice any of that. I just saw a horse go into a trailer with seemingly no effort on his part.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.