I grew up in a household in which there was hardly a moment without music. There must have been, but that’s not how I sense my childhood. My mother was a professional vocalist and pianist. That meant that if she wasn’t practicing at home, she and I were headed to a rehearsal during which there was something playing o the radio. If she wasn’t practicing a piano piece, I was. Or she was practicing a vocal piece, or I was. As for my father, at the time he did not play, but his passion for my mother drove him to learn to appreciate the music she loved so much and to participate when he could.
I did not inherit my mother’s lyric soprano voice nor her gift for the piano. My ear is not bad, though and my body responds to music like crazy!
I was preparing for class this morning with a desire to pull a mix of music together specifically to support the focus of awareness of body sensation. Interestingly the song Monday by Ulrich Schnauss popped into my head. While I’ve listened to this piece a few times, it’s been a little while and I haven’t yet used it in class.
I clicked play.
The first thing my body told me was “this isn’t regular”, “you’re going to have to wait for it to tell you how to move to it”. This piece has alot going on, but it’s layered with such finesse that it works. By that I mean that I receive it consciously in The percussion is attention-getting and almost distracting, but I can’t let go of the haunting melody that caresses my nervous system.
What makes me tingle is the places where the drums drop out and I’m left, as if in mid-air, or mid-breath, my body suspended in anticipation. Pure, unadulterated Joy. Musical details fill the spaces and whisper promises, drawing me into the feminine. But I still find myself holding my breath for the drums to start again.
Simply listening to this piece became in itself, an exercise in awareness.
The tickle of anticipation. My own movements of response to the wave – like quality of the delicate almost crystalline sounds.
Listening to it repeatedly opened the door to creativity in terms of how I could tell the “story” of the music.
The first few times, I was mesmerized by the breathlessness of expectancy and let that experience wash over me again and again.
This time, I’m inviting the drums to take a different role. Is that what I’m doing or am I inviting my nervous system to process the sounds in a new way?
Now, the drums are focused, decisive, even insistent and demanding; they speak clearly without hesitation or apology. The sounds that co-create this piece with the drums are not running to keep up. They are patient. They speak up, but not to be noticed or heard but rather as a gesture – an invitation for an auditory pas de deux.
Over and over into the warm ocean of sounds that wistfully lap against the sides of me. Wistfully. Another new way to hear. I’m never floating; never on autopilot. I’m present to sensation – the sensation of music.
The drums become the heart beat. Each drum stop is a breath. Inhale. Exhale.
At one point I notice a pulsing sound, not unlike the fetal heartbeat heard on a Doppler monitor used in doctor’s offices. Shifting experiences into embryonic.
This time floating is not letting go but becoming.
Through the floating I learn to use my body in the way it was designed. Movements are just the right size and scope; in this place they are perfect. My effort is exactly what it needs to be – not too much to fatigue me, and not too little. I am safe. Everything I do is wonderful. Everything feels good and serves my growth. How could I ever do anything else?
In this place my body tells me what I need to know. Why would I ever listen to anything else? My body knows what I need. Why would I ever listen to anything else?
Thank you, Ulrich Schnauss, for creating this piece of music through which I could take this journey.
Andrew, thank you for sharing this piece with me.
Mom, thanks for all the other stuff. I am grateful.
Photo by Resim and Fotograf