some thoughts about Hebrew, practicing and finding our true self
November 15, 2015
In hebrew, the word used for Instrument is kLi (כְּלִי)
when used in the language, kLi stands by itself for three different meaning, and can serve many more, if in contiguity with other words.
the main independent meanings stand for three functions,
1. a Musical Instrument - כלי נגינה (kLI negiNA)
2. a Working tool, a device - כלי עבודה (kLI avoDA)
3. a vessel, a container - כלי קיבול (kLI kiBUL)
I find this particularly fascinating because these three meanings stand for the three special functions I believe playing a musical instrument serves.
the obvious first, a musical instrument, allows us to create sounds and to connect and communicate with others.
the second, challenges us to dig deep through the endless mazes of craftsmanship, striving for the ability to put life in a still object by working our way through physical and mental obstacles. He who succeeds in overcoming these difficulties is granted with the knowledge and ability to face life’s challenges with greater tools.
and for the third and most important meaning. by searching with great humility and honesty for our true self, our instrument serves us as a vessel for all of who we are. not only for what we can do well or for what we are proud of, but also for our failures and weaknesses alike, embraced with forgiveness and acceptance. the more we let this kLI contain who we are, the safer our path will be to doing the right thing for ourselves, for our playing, and consequently - for the world around us.
Practicing is my passion, always has been. It’s this moment where it is only me with myself, no distractions, no excuses. It is important for me to practice simple things, slowly. to be able to hear the overtones of my sound, whether with the instrument, the mouthpiece or my vocal chords. to be attentive - if the body or the instrument raise their objection in the form of tension, I listen to it and let it guide me - because stressing myself out for the sake of momentarily succeeding is to miss out on a valuable lesson. I am interested in a sustainable place, with a sound that I love with a physical and mental sensation that allows me to stay there comfortably. I love playing the trombone, and have loved playing it every day of my life, even when it was hard and frustrating. The most important reminder I can give you, and first and foremost, to myself, is to practice regularly with your ears and heart open.
I feel utterly grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given, this rare gift only the ones who try to master an art can understand - to have a glimpse at my inner world through the long process of refinement of the raw, external one.
How much of myself can I pour into my playing? hundred narrow paths of self improvement, sounds I’ve heard over the years, sentences I have read in a yoga book, people I have met. All of this makes me who I am, in search of my personal Truth. finding my own inner voice, this special and personal voice, genuinely produced by nothing but my own imagination at full force. Who am I, how do I feel, what’s beautiful to me, where do I come from. our every sound or word, each phrase we use, is either a perfect reproduction of past impression, or a synergy of numerous familiar elements. Idea is a collision of recollections, so the more we are exposed to great thinkers, beautiful sounds and superb artistry, the better are the ingredients in our basket. “be yourselve, everyone else is already taken”, said Oscar Wilde. and whether we like it or not, our complete and true self is forever exposed, even when one is trying to hide or imitate. So why not celebrate our unique being to its fullest? this one-of-a-kind existance that we are, the special pronunciations of our mother tongue, the scenery and food we grew up with, the music we listen to, the way we feel about things or treat each other. Playing has a constant connection to life in every sense, to communication and emotional states, which is what I find to be the most compelling beauty about playing a musical instrument.
six versions of self
a brilliant cover version to the iconic title song from 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' (1971), by the talented Jacob Collier.