Updated: May 27, 2022
“To monitor movement in real time, you need to dramatically slow down.”
“We are starting a neighborhood band, do you want to play guitar with us?”
Yes, how could I turn down the doctor of Grunge from two doors down our block? I have always preferred using the guitar as a tool to express my own creativity, but maybe it’s never too late to join a garage band. One thing for sure, I better start learning some of the doc’s playlist.
The Beastie Boys “Fight for Your Right to Party” seemed like a good place to start. It is a three chord combination of punk and rap. When I started jamming along with the track something was off. I was playing the right chords, but the rhythm was wrong. So I reached into my Feldenkrais toolkit and pulled out the Go Slow principle.
I slowed the song down to 75% of the original tempo. Yup, there is an app for that. The slower speed allowed me to hear it had an unusual upbeat pattern. It was a cool riff that I never played before so I slowed the song even more to practiced it. Once learned, it was easy to up the tempo to 75% and then to the original 135 beats per minute. Now I could lock in and be a little beastie myself.
Learning new movements is awkward and clumsy. If the pattern is repeated often enough, it becomes more refined and eventually, habituated. This is a great process for saving time and energy. For example, toddlers often spill when first using a glass (thank God for Sippy Cups). In time, they master the art of drinking and graduate to big people cups.
Habitual patterns generally work quite well, but not always. For instance, if I put a heavy carton of milk on the table (Costco size) and do not realize that most of it had been drunk during the meal, I will expect the container to be heavy when lifting it. This misperception causes me to use more force than necessary and my arm with the container shoot up into the air. Because I moved at my normal speed, I could not monitor or change it in real time. If the same task was done in slow motion, I would have felt the change of the weight of the container and been able to change my course of action.
How slow is slow enough? It is probably slower than you think. Feldenkrais lessons are a great way to discover how going slow will help you feel better faster. Come practice the Art of Slow with here at www.s3nse.org.