Magazine article Strings

My Inner Walrus

Magazine article Strings

My Inner Walrus

Article excerpt

When performing, I definitely like to try to transcend thought. Some people call it being "in the zone;" it's this thing where I stop analyzing everything and just get really connected to the music and sink deep into the beat. Things seem to move in slow motion and I feel in that state that I can put my whole self into what I'm playing. I feel that the sneakiest elf and goblin sounds are right at my fingertips and my whole imaginary land (of Snee) is singing through me. Sometimes I get the chills, too.

These moments are rare, but they make all the work worth it, for me.

I think getting to this magical zone is about making sure nothing separates your mind from your instrument. It takes really knowing your cello to be able to just sing through it. I guess you have to spend so much time with it and just be so comfortable playing it that it's literally an extension of you and just a big, hairy canvas for your imagination.

I wish I knew a sure method of getting there all the time, but it can be elusive. There are things that help me, though: like singing (quietly!) along with what I'm playing connects me a little more, and so does moving my body, (which mostly means my head and face). If you see me play and I seem to be making grotesque faces and mumbling and head-banging, I'm simply trying to go deep into the music. There are a lot of examples of people who sing along with themselves to feel it better. For example, pianist Glenn Gould did it and Keith Jarrett makes disturbing noises like he's possessed!

There's a lotto be said also for just listening well and having a concept of space and dynamics. …

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