A high school senior was preparing for her piano audition for college music programs. At her lesson, she played a Chopin nocturne. What I heard did not touch me in any way. She finished and turned toward me. I waited, went inward and listened for whatever would emerge. Finally, I said "Do you have a soul?" She looked surprised, and answered "Yes." Again I paused, went inward and waited. "Do you have a musical soul?" Now she looked uncomfortable but answered
"I think so." So I waited yet again, and listened for my next question. "Do you trust your musical soul?" Now her eyes were moist, she waited and then whispered "No." So at last we found the place to begin, to explore and to learn how to trust that musical soul.
For me when learning situations get quite deep or serious, it's important to balance that with some humor. So I suggested she "play around" with exaggerated musicality, using excessive everything from extreme body movement to absurd dynamics and rubato. Something seems to free up with such antics. And then to return to playing "real" Chopin and accessing that sometimes elusive musical soul.
For the next two months, I observed and heard her musical soul emerge. It would be up to her to trust it.
I know that I trust my musical soul and I also trust that space where I wait, and listen for the question I want.
What do you trust or not trust within your soul?