Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brain Subscriptions

The transition to orchestral life continues.  I wonder if in some way this blog could be like Flowers for Algernon, in which the reader witnesses the slow change of the narrator as his diary reflects a psychological experiment being done on him by doctors.  What happens to the brain of an orchestral musician?  Maybe it's beyond words.  But maybe I have a wordy brain which just makes it a little harder.  It's something to bring to the table.  All those words which get in the way of proper bowings but explain what's going on.

The brain is capable of doing so many things.  Of thinking in words and beyond words, thinking in pictures and sounds, communicating and reflecting, perceiving and planning.  To what extent do we have control over the way we think, of the path that life gives us?  Do our natural mental tendencies incline us to go in certain directions, which then create a positive feedback to thinking in a similar way? How do we get where we are?  Am I supposed to be a musician?

It certainly seems like one of the least natural things I personally could have chosen to do.  Have I changed my brain by subscribing myself to such a life?  What more could I sign-up for that might alter the way I think and live?

Switching back into the schedule of orchestral rehearsals is highlighting the unique balance of mental tasks required of the orchestral musician.  I'm falling back into it and realizing how well practiced a role it is for me, but also how unnatural it is.  But maybe that's true for everyone.  It is a pretty unnatural thing in many ways.  It takes years to learn to do it.

So one switch in my brain is slowly raised and the other lowered.  The creative spark may dwindle in certain regards, but perhaps it can be harnessed and enhance the service I've chosen.  Finding more ways to think, more ways to live.

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