08 jan

My newest article is out! I’m honoured to receive Prof. Norman Jackson’s to contribute to the last issue of Lifewide Magazine no. 18, where the topic is Exploration. I have attempted to explain how I explore in my own practice to keep making improvements to all aspects of my piano playing. Below, you see the first few lines. The full content can be read here: lifewide_magazine_18, pp. 69-74.  See also their website.

 

KEYS TO SYSTEMATIC EXPLORATION—A PIANIST’S PERSPECTIVE

Christina Kobb

Piano playing is my practice. As with many artistic practices, it is supposed to be creative, intuitive, touching, virtuosic and mindblowing. Nevertheless, routine, boredom, frustration and lack of initiative may threaten musical practices, too. That is, if we forget to explore.

The explorative state

I love the explorative state of mind! I regard exploration in any practice as integral both to continued development and continued excitement. I like to think of a practice as an ecology of many constituents or actions; on the physical, mental and emotional level respectively. As I am highly motivated to improve my performance, I work regularly on developing all three levels plus the interaction between them. I actually practise aligning these levels to each other, actively conditioning myself for an explorative state of mind and being.

On each level, «renewal of cells» is part of the process, just like everything in nature is in constant growth and adaptation. Have you noticed how even dead branches block the sun? Similarly, removing that which is already dead, redundant or even toxic is vital to secure growth in a practice. And steady growth is, in turn, achieved by channeling all of our efforts – physically, mentally and emotionally – in the same direction.

I would argue that exploration requires planning and conscious decisions. You may stumble on an idea of how to explore something, but once you decide to pursue it, a strategy is vital. The physical level of a practice is usually the best place to start, as it is relatively easy to inspect and adjust. The constituents of the mental condition (cognitive activity) may be a little harder to grasp and that of the emotional level even less tangible. Nevertheless, I keep exploring and will share some of my experience here.

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To read on, please go here! lifewide_magazine_18, p. 69!