Open focus…I am still trying to wrap my head around this concept. Yes, I understand it on the surface, but I’m not sure if I grasp it on a deeper level. This chapter “The Full Complete Attention”, is a very insightful read. Interestingly enough I was again reminded that I am a left-brain driven person. I would say that I function on narrow-objection focus, and this is 100% true for my performing abilities. I have narrow focus, and therefore stress out to the max about petty, small issues, and forget the big picture. Instead of letting my brain do what it can do, and just function, I have to micro-manage every thought, action and connection. The four main focuses with in “Open Focus”: Objection, Narrow, Diffuse and Immersed, were focuses that I have used. I have experienced every combination in this chapter, but the one that I use in performing is again: “Narrow-Objection”. So my question is this, after reading the chapter. “Is Open Focus, the ability to conquer all four attention styles? Is there a time and place for each one? And is it possible to never truly attain open-focus but to master the skill of transitioning one’s attention to another focus, without it delaying their intention?”

In the world of performance, why is it that having narrow focus is bad? What if its good for some people? I find that when I am “relaxed” I feel unfocused and that my energy is spastic, and then on the flip side if I am too “tense”, then my energy bounces off of the walls and I make people around me uneasy. So is it possible to have a combination of narrow and diffused? Also, if someone has immersed focus during a performance, can’t that hinder the audiences’ experience?

This past week I had an audition for a very important summer job, with the Cincinnati Opera, and during my audition I would argue that I had a narrow-immersed focused expereince. I was so narrow focused on every technical thing I did, and immersed in my self-hatred that I was doing terrible, that I left the audition room without a clue on how the judges viewed my performance. Let alone how I critiqued my own performance! Besides hating on myself and calling myself a failure, I had no other insight on how I did. I wish I could rewind the clock and audition with at least a narrow-objective focus, and not be so caught up into myself emotionally. Ugh. Sometimes being a human filled with estrogen is exhausting.


two weeks late review…

Two weeks ago Prof Thurmer had us do an experiment with “wide focus”. This experiment consisted of having a few of us perform as if it was a recital, then we went through a meditation process, and then we performed again. My first performance wasn’t very good, my sound was a bit tense and I felt like my body was not aligned. After the performance I realized that I was about to be forced to leave my “comfort zone” and This meditation process was designed to expand one’s focus, in preparation for performing. We were directed to “observe the distance between your eyes”, and all the way down to your toes. As I sat in the comfortable, dark room, with my feet propped up on a chair, I felt my awareness fade. The man’s voice began to sound like a drone and my eyelids began to feel like they weighed 100lbs.

Before going into the process, I was afraid of the outcome…that I would feel more tired and be unfocused…and I was. Interestingly enough, after my second performance ( which was awful) some people said that my voice sounded better. This has to be due to the inability for myself to “fine tune” my voice, or “manufacture” a sound. I was so tired when I got up to sing the second time, that I was nervous that I was going to trip up the stairs! Anyways, during the second performance the pianist made a slight error and I became completely unfocused and lost it, I stopped singing. I couldn’t keep going. I was so unfocused, that it was scary. I felt naked. Exposed. It was awful.

Now, two weeks later and reflecting I realized something very interesting…the first performance I was completely guarded and did not give a good performance, and the second time my guard was down and I did worse! Somehow I need to find a way to combined the two performances…what I mean by that is the energy I had for the two performances. I need to be focused like the first time, but need to be relaxed and let my voice go…