As musicians, we are always searching for new ways to improve our performance. We spend hours practicing to develop our technical skills. We read books and listen to music to get a better understanding of the music we’re playing. We search for interesting pieces and techniques, which can help us to refresh our view on music.
At the beginning of my master’s degree studies, I wondered myself: What do I want to learn? What do I aim
for? What is my dream? My dream was to play music without any physical limitations. On stage I aimed to feel free in my motions. I wanted to be able to make any musical decision, without experiencing any blockage in my body. Sometimes on stage I felt that I could not express myself the way I wanted to, because of physical tension in my body. I felt pain or cramping in my hands, arm and shoulders, my breath was restricted and my body had difficulties finding the right balance.
A piece in which all of these elements were very present was ‘Lamentatio’ by Giovanni Sollima. Sollima is an Italian cellist and composer. His music is influenced by different musical styles such as classical, pop, rock, jazz and Mediterranean folk. The character of the piece ‘Lamenatio’ is quite wild and powerful, which caused in me a lot of physical tension. The first time I performed the piece was during my final bachelor’s exam at the Prins Claus Conservatoire (Groningen) in June 2014. During this performance I had difficulties finishing the piece because my muscles became sore.
In order to remedy this problem, I felt I needed to get deeper insight of the cause of this physical pain and begin to understand the term “tension”.