LOOKING FORWARD The Virtues of Anticipation

Evan Bortnick       http://musa-vocalis.de/

Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden

I love looking forward to things. There’s something so sweet and grand about somehow being fully in the here and now and, at the same time, tasting a future event fully. There’s something about that back and forth between present and future that’s like a motor or like the pedals on a bicycle. I always wonder what the animal equivalent of this is. A dog or a cat definitely seems to be able to anticipate a meal. Is this purely instinct driven? 100%? It so often feels like there’s cognition and consciousness there. Watching sparrows at sunset climb, climb, climb so intensely seems like they’re joyfully anticipating the rush of the dive. Well, even if there’s no consciousness there, it’s ecstatic for me to watch and anticipate for them.

I have to admit to having felt guilty for going so intensely into the future. I chided myself that it meant that I wasn’t fully present for the present. Now I’m not so sure.

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

— A.A. Milne

A strong part of our human consciousness is about being able to anticipate what’s coming up. I remember as a young boy asking my father the secret of success. He said something like; ‘always have something to look forward to, no matter how small!’ I must have introjected that more strongly than I thought. I do it all the time.

For those who enjoy to the ‘life is a game’ metaphor; one measure of a chess master, it’s said, is how many moves can be seen and anticipated in advance. This is a valuable skill. In the martial arts, the black belts often speak of ‘reading’ the opponent, anticipating her moves and countering appropriately. When driving, the ability to ‘read the road’ and anticipate traffic activity in advance can be life saving. When singing, the ability to anticipate the pressure centers, resonance, breath subtleties, positions, form and process of the rhythmic and melodic phrase, in advance is also a measure of the master. Voice teachers often emphasize ‘anticipation’ as a way to ensure optimal ‘placement’.

I can remember back to theater classes where we made an exercise of throwing a ball back and forth. After we did this a few times, we threw an imaginary ball back and forth. To do this well requires acute observation of the throwing movements of the exercise partner. It’s really an exercise in “Empathy”; really “SEEING” the movement patterns of An-Other and by feeling them in our own bodies, to convincingly catch the imaginary ball. When two skillful practitioners practice this, an observer can almost actually see a ball flying through the air.

Just so for all of our interactions, it’s not merely about perceiving what’s going on right now, but, more profoundly, to perceive the pattern within the movement and to move with it.

“If you come at four in the afternoon, I’ll begin to be happy by three.”

— Saint-Exupéry

Evan Bortnick       http://musa-vocalis.de/

Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden


About evanb54

I'm a passionate, curious learning junkie--- an X-Opera Singer turned Voice Teacher, Voice Teachers Teacher, NLP Lehrtrainer, Off-Path Coach, Cranio-Sacral worker and a few other even less mainstream things. Everything I've learned or taught revolves around THE VOICE. The Voice as a tool of artistic expression. The Voice as a tool of emotional transparency. The voice as a tool of flexible communication. More information can be found at my Institute Site: www.musa-vocalis.de The Wiesbaden Academy of the Vocal Muse Gesangsunterricht Wiesbaden, Coaching, Voice Pedagogy
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One Response to LOOKING FORWARD The Virtues of Anticipation

  1. bhillman2014 says:

    Loved this one

    Bonnie Hillman | President

    119 Spadina Avenue Suite 900
    Toronto, ON M5V2L1
    416.966.3421 x208
    @artscomCA | @bonniehillman7

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