A Different Kind of Performing Experience and Exploring the Self-Image

There has been discussion about people finding new experiences. Stimulation is everywhere around us. We become numb with listening or watching. Nothing might feel exciting anymore. That’s why I believe people try to find ways to participate themselves to get new experiences.

My friend happened to have holidays at the same time as me and she visited me. I offered her something totally new. She is not a musician and I gave her short saxophone lesson. She was totally excited to play few notes. Something she never expected to do and I loved that energy from her. The second day was even more surprising and this time we both got a new experience.

I have dreamed about hair modeling for sometime. Finally came that day that I was in a right city and had nothing else to do for the whole day. Maybe I needed this all time dreaming before getting there, because I had become ready. Ready to give totally free hands. Somehow it feels extreme when you trust some stranger to do whatever to your hair.

You need to somewhat not care to feel free and let go. And be ready to accept anything. Isn’t playing music freely just the same thing? And what are the thoughts that stop ourselves? I think it has something to do with our self-image reflected by our own eyes and through other people’s eyes.

We get used to see ourselves in one way. Other people also get used to see us in some way. But we don’t actually know exactly how and so we create our own thought about how other people see us. But if you see someone for the first time you haven’t got used to him or her. In short moment your brain still always creates the image of that person. We get information about the looks and body positions, voice and so on. Some of those features are permanent, some of them are just feelings of that moment. We need those facts to survive. You don’t want to annoy an angry person, for example. But for this way we also get prejudice. We remember that someone looked like that so this other person might be the same. But there are today actually many ways we can affect to our looks starting from haircut to extreme plastic surgery.

Somehow we learn how to be and how to behave. Am I like this because someone says so? There might be some standards in society that we follow automatically because we just learned to do so. For example, I feel that I talk more to the strangers abroad than in Finland. It’s something I’ve learned to do and I begin to pay attention when I learn new ways of behaving in new environments.

So we play the old music that has been played “forever” and get stuck about how it should be played and how it was played that time and what everyone else thinks about it. But how do You feel that music? Of course it’s important to understand the ideas of composers’ but if you begin to worry too much you probably sound worried.

Once I was waiting the traffic lights to turn green for pedestrians with one violinist and conductor. We didn’t see any cars coming so we crossed the street when the light was still red. He told me about a teacher who had ask his student if he ever crosses a street with red lights. The student said no and the teacher told that maybe sometimes would be wise to go against the red light in music making.

There might be some rules that we obey even when it’s not necessary. They are there to protect us but sometimes we also get scared or embarrassed. Before doing something you should be sure you don’t hurt anyone or yourself. Even standing on the table is safe if you have a good balance. But why we don’t stand on the tables just for fun? Because when we were kids someone told us not to so that we won’t fall.

So I thought in the hair modeling casting: “It’s only hair. It will grow and change anyway.” And I end up with a short purple red hair. Something totally unexpected. And why do I feel that I have to adjust my self-image? For example, now I’m a short haired woman. And so all the prejudices of short haired women come in my mind and not only mine but what other people might think about me when I have this hair. It’s interesting to explore your own thoughts and then come to a conclusion that it actually shouldn’t matter what kind of hair I have. At the moment should matter how I do my work and play the clarinet. And how I perform.

Working as a model is also performing. We had a short catwalk and everyone had their moment on the stage. I was a demo model so my hair was finished on the stage while the hairdresser talked and span me around on a chair. She told me not to show if there is a hair sticking in my eye but I should look like I’m enjoying every moment of it. I told her that being on the stage is normal for me as a musician. She also gave some basic advice for models for how to walk on the stage. “You don’t need to look at your feet while walking. Look at the audience. Take your time and don’t rush. Relax your mouth. If you don’t feel like smiling, then open your mouth a bit to get it more relaxed. Pull your shoulders back and breast up and keep a good posture.” I think it was nothing new for me but a good thing to think about again without an instrument. And it was interesting to see other people’s reactions about going to the stage. My friend told that she was thinking about the game and going on the field to play. After getting on the stage she was not nervous anymore and I had a feeling all the models were pretty cool about being on the stage. No one of us was a professional model so I think it made it easier. As the hairdresser said, we were kind of playing a role.

This experience made me also think about how I could be more free and open to new things and see things in a fresh way. In a way that even I’m not used to see them. Already I’m planning all the ways I can do my hair now and I’m excited to experiment. That I should do with music too!

colors

photo by Heli Palomaa

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