At a recent rehearsal, my saxophone teacher told me:
Play a tone, and then you just observe how the sound is: weak, strong, bad, etc., but don´t do anything about it. Just let it be as it is.
This is a very tolerant and open way of playing – very good for those of us who are quite new to playing an instrument. Her approach reminded me of the free mental attitude in Acem meditation. You repeat the sound as effortlessly as possible, and let thoughts and feelings come and go freely. There is no spontaneous activity in the meditation that is wrong; she seemed to say that there was no tone that was wrong. (I am not sure if my neighbor is very happy when I use this approach when I rehearse at home).
During the same rehearsal, she also encouraged me to freely associate with the melody that came out of the saxophone. This reminded me of how I associate freely if I talk about a dream I had during my meditation. My playing reminded me of a green cave I visited during my holidays in Croatia, and the clear water I swam in. I am wondering if this exercise of free associations to our improvisation was some kind of trick to help me let go of my critical thoughts about my own playing. It worked, and I felt very happy and inspired after the rehearsal.
nice post! i plan to try playing the flute very soon and i think the same strategy should be helpful. maybe i should warn my neighbour beforehand!