No Time Like the Present

Robert Alfree (144)


Issue 6
May 1999

"Do you ever spare a thought for the future, your future?"

"Well of course, I have a rehearsal tomorrow, and a gig on Friday. Beyond that, no, my plans are non-existent."

That is my way through though - live my life with as much spontaneity as possibie. The future is not a concept that I fear or worry about. As I see it, the future is an illusion, a powerful tool used to keep society in control, generation after generation. There is no need for me to enter into that game, it fails to amuse me, and it also cuts right across my essence, the essence that I knew would be released when I transitioned.

So, ten months into the process, has the essence found its freedom? For the most part, it's getting there! The biggest indicator I have to express any changes in my inner world, is music. The relationship I have with music goes back to early childhood, and for some unexplainable reason, it continues despite everything.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and that is true for music and its place in my life. At college I slogged six hours a day for four years, determined to find the answers and play to the highest level. My attitude was that it had to be right, it had to be accurate, and if it was not, then I had failed in my task.

That was all well and good on one level, but I had overlooked a rather important detail. I was striving to play music, and for all the details and hours spent on single phrases, I had scant regard for the fact that I could not actually relate to the music before me. I had the ability to play the most wonderful sonatas and symphonies, without any true emotional input.

Not only has that changed on the actual playing side now, I am also finding that the pieces I listen to are moving me to a depth that was previously inaccessable. When I heard music in the past, it was almost as though I was aware that a 'good bit' was approaching and would respond accordingly, where as now, I am not being moved as much as the fact that I am moved.

There has been a significant attitude shift from 'making it' to playing it and seeing what happens. I am extremely lucky to play in a string quartet, all of whom are in it for the music. When we have a gig or a function to play at, the preparation and performance give us pleasure, and we enjoy the process - not something that can be said of previous quartets and my attitude within them!

The power of music is coming to life for me, due to the treatment and the understanding and relationship it has provided within myself. It is now all right to explore and enjoy music. It is all right not to fight for a place in an orchestra somewhere. It is a great honour to enter other cultures and experience aspects of them through music, as I have been with the Turkish and Kurdish refugees in London.

At the end of the day, no amount of money will ever substitute what the treatment has helped me to achieve, the reflection of which, is music.

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