Playing With Abandon

 

By Carli Muñoz

For 20 years I’ve been going to the same old place to dip my fingers into a plank of wood divided by almost uniform black and white segments, each individually controlled by a counterweighted mechanism which has remained the same for at least 300 years, hitting a set of steel strings stretched at a total of 16 tons of pressure.... they call this thing a piano. It might be easy to assume that my fingers must know their way around this ancient contraption and navigate the ‘keys’ (short for keyboard), effortlessly like a stroll in the park? Yes and no. The process is interesting if it was simply a habitual response I might have been a candidate for suicide long ago or worse yet suffer the fate of Sisyphus for habitually torturing his guests. But I’m happy to say that it is certainly more than that. A major motivator to do this seeming routine with total abandon for almost every day of the last 20 years of my life is just the opposite of habit. Of course, habit always has its little ways of creeping in when not in check, but awareness, surrendering to the moment and adapting to the environment certainly gives me the edge. Could it be that it is that constant battle between succumbing to or freeing myself from habit what makes it interesting and unpredictable? There you go — a strange loop!

In the end result, I do feel, at least most of the time, that I’m actually ‘giving’ something special to the audience and to myself when I play with abandon. It is in those moments of diving into the unexpected — the untried, that I get the most pleasure out of playing. I simply refuse to have a premeditated beginning before I start playing. It is a way of allowing or absorbing the moment. And that moment is the sum of the people in the room and the general vibe they carry. Sometimes it is a particular person in the audience what sparks of what comes next, and the general vibe becomes the periphery. It is a process I look forward to and that is the most important thing to me — never a dull moment!

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