I've aways loved the Kiki Dee Band's song, written by Bias Boshel, "I've Got the Music in Me."
Huh? The music that is in you — where is it? How do you tap into it?
If you're asking me, belly queen as I am, I'll say we tap into our music — into every expression of our life force — by deepening into our body's center, the sourcepoint of our creative energy. We cultivate our relationship with this soul-power as we honor, rather than shame, our bellies. We activate it with movement and breath.
The guidelines for this activity include:
- Sitting comfortably, enter into the Centering Breath. Notice any images and sensations that come into your awareness as you focus your attention within your body’s center.
- Consider your arm to be an extension of your belly, a pipeline ready to carry information from your body’s center through to your hand and out onto paper. Maintaining your awareness in your belly, take the colored markers that appeal to you. Let your arm and hand move across the paper, spilling out colors, shapes, and lines.
- Give yourself all the permission you need to make your marks freely, without judgment or restriction.
These same guidelines apply when I'm at the piano, improvising — letting music arrive without planning, without thinking. Just as with drawing, my arms serve as pipelines, allowing the flow of energy and information from body's center to keyboard.
The music that emerges in this way is so heart- and soul-satisfying. As one of my mentors, Mark Kelso of Muddy Angel Music, likes to say: The fun isn't so much in playing music; it's in being played by the music.
There's a delicate balance between improvisation and composition. Certainly, each can inspire the other.
By my lights, as improvisation offers sensory experience of the life force concentrated in the body center, it expresses the energy of the Sacred Feminine.
Composition can likewise convey the sense of the Sacred Feminine. In this clip from Ethan Hawke's magnificent film, "Seymour: An Introduction," hear what virtuoso pianist Seymour Bernstein says about Beethoven's expression of — and ambivalent relationship with — the feminine: