Improving my Music Level and Skills
[PureInsight.org] Since 2013 I have been playing the flute in the European Tian Guo Marching Band and have been practicing Falun Dafa for almost 10 years. During the first two years in the Marching Band I had a personal teacher who unfortunately didn’t teach me any technique or musical skills at all.
Last year on the last performance we had in London, when we finished the parade I really felt in my heart that my music level wasn’t good. So what I did first when I came back home was to look for another teacher and to put all my efforts into reaching the level Master requires of us in Fa Teaching on World Falun Dafa Day, 2014, "A Dafa disciple must do everything steadily, put his heart into it, not be attached to time and not think too much. You have to give your very best in whatever you are supposed to do, and it will go well."
But once I became determined to do so, suddenly all kind of interferences appeared. Since 2014, after Shen Yun performed in Barcelona, gradually I started to feel pain in my joints only this time the pain became more and more severe and finally it spread all over the body.
After we finished the Marching Band`s events in October 2015, I was able to have private music lessons for 2, 3 months and then I stopped attending the classes because the pain caused me so many sufferings. I lost a lot of weight, barely could sit on the floor, I even needed help to dress myself and my shoulders and body became curved. My demeanor was not even healthy. I asked myself: Why is that? What am I doing wrong? So, when I looked back on my path of cultivation I saw that I had a big attachment to comfort. From time to time I was distracted and found myself watching TV and didn’t wake up every morning to FZN (send forth righteous thoughts).
At the beginning of this year I went to Barcelona for the promotion of Shen Yun. My right knee was really in such pain, but I never gave up and continued with the work without complaint.
Eventually, I started to learn the technique of Alexander which helped me to correct some bad postures of my body and to relax my shoulders so I could play flute again.
In February, when it was announced that our Marching Band was going to have a rehearsal with Ms. Zhou in London, it made me hurry up and urged me to restart the classes. So I quickly got in touch with my teacher.
Shortly afterwards, we had the first class and he found that my sound wasn’t stiff like before, and that my shoulders were more relaxed and not as tense. I needed to learn especially the Sacred Song and Triumphant Return songs, because I thought that I will never be able to play them since the passages are so quick.
But my teacher pointed on the music sheet the most difficult and quick parts of each song and then he told me: "You need to play these parts at least 20 times every day if you want to achieve the level." For instance, if the score has 8 consecutive notes at high speed, he told me to start with the first 2 notes and play them repeatedly and as quick as I can, then the first 3 notes, then added the 4th, the 5th up to the 8th one. So in this way my fingers got more familiar with the position of the notes and then gradually I played them quickly.
Of course, to achieve that was not an easy task and I still rehearse and improve my skills. But fortunately my sound, the technique of breathing and the fingers’ position on the flute are much better than they used to be last year.
In April we had the rehearsal with Ms. Zhou, the conductor of Tianguo Marching Band of the USA. She really wanted to transmit us all the knowledge and experience she has gained. I was all ears and didn’t want to miss even one word of what she was saying during the 4, 5 days of training. She was very compassionate and patient with us, since we are not very professional and we don’t have very good musical skills and the way she taught us. For me, it looked like our Master was teaching us. I had this feeling almost all the time.
Since I always sped up the notes while I was playing, one tip of Ms. Zhou helped me to slow down and not to hurry all the time. She said: "When you are playing you should say the name of the notes slowly in your mind, not as the speed written on the music sheets. So, your fingers pay attention to the speed in your mind and you are not in a hurry all the time."
The last day of the training so many practitioners left, and maybe we were not so many, but when we played the songs that day, for the first time I heard our band playing as one, one unique and harmonic sound. This made me even more persistent in my improvement.
Getting better understanding on how to be more diligent
This year for the very first time we had a tour in the eastern countries. I was impatient to join this trip, but at the same time I felt a bit scared because of my joint pain. Just in case I carried with me some medical cream to relieve the pain. But my wish to be all these days with the Marching Band was much bigger than my fear. I know that as a practitioner I shouldn’t be afraid. But sometimes the pain was so strong and everywhere that I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I finally took some medical measures.
I always try to remember these words of Master in Zhuan Falun, “When it’s difficult to endure, you can endure it. When it’s impossible to do, you can do it.” In fact, that is how it is. Why don’t you give it a try when you return home? When you are overcoming a real hardship or tribulation, you try it. When it is difficult to endure, try to endure it. When it looks impossible and is said to be impossible, give it a try and see if it is possible. If you can actually do it, you will indeed find, “After passing the shady willow trees, there will be bright flowers and another village ahead!”
Just a few days before the trip, when I was rehearsing, suddenly 2 keys of the flute fall down (the key for note B and B flat), since they were fixed together with one very small screw. I was very calm at that moment, and I was thinking what I should do to fix them. Suddenly I remembered my old flute, so I picked it up and saw how the order of the keys was, and then I put them in the same order, and with the small screw I fixed them all together. Afterwards I wondered why this happened, and this made me check all the flute screws and fixed them stronger. If this happens during the tour and I lost these keys, for sure I will not be able to play. We need to take care of our instrument and treat them properly because they are our tools to save sentient beings.
In our first city of the East European Tour I shared room with a Chinese practitioner. When I first met her she told me that she had a strong health problem so I answered that in that case that made two of us.
I already had a headache for the last couple of weeks and she told me just to refuse the old forces and not to recognize this pain. Then we sent forth righteous thoughts together and I really felt myself much better. The next days she usually woke up in the middle of the night to send forth righteous thoughts, I was too impressed of how diligent she was on this matter. When we had an opportunity we sent forth righteous thoughts and things eventually went much better. My headache disappeared and I had no pain in my joints. I really appreciated this opportunity to understand better the meaning and effect of righteous thoughts.
Master’ wrote in the article Righteous Thoughts,
“They surge like thunderbolts to cosmic heights
Roaring with colossal power, they reach beyond the heavens
They sweep across the cosmos, no crevice left untouched
Eliminating at once all that’s degenerate and deviant”
As every day passed during the tour, I felt how my body was reviving again and how Master helped me to purify it. In the morning when we did the exercises I felt a strong warm stream all over my right leg and this happened very often. This helped me during the parades to forget about myself and focus on the songs, the marching and our drum major. But this year I found myself a bit more distracted, looking around, when this happened I started to do FZN or just recited Lunyu.
The following days we had a parade in Budapest and the rain surprised us in the morning. I was thinking that we shouldn´t miss this opportunity to play in front of the Parliament and the Chinese embassy in this city. Soon after the local practitioners were looking for and bought rain clothes for us, somebody of us said that we were not going to wear them. So I thought in my mind, "So the only thing we need is just to get out of the buses and play." And in 5 minutes the Marching Band stood in front of the Parliament building ready to play. I was almost in tears and felt so great that I thought: nothing could stop us. The rain even got worse during the parade; some people were really surprised and took photos of us. My shoes and socks were soaking wet; I couldn’t feel the fingers of my hands but I still continued to play. In that moment I even thought about how many people could see us, and when I looked around some of our fellow practitioners were playing as though nothing was wrong. This encouraged me to go on. Once we stopped in front of the Chinese embassy, the policemen were hiding from the rain, but we all together stayed like soldiers on the front lines playing and playing. I felt like we were all winners and the music touched my heart in a very special way; I hope it also touched the people who were there in the embassy.
In Krakow again I shared a room with a Chinese practitioner. We hardly could understand each other because of the language barrier. Before we went to bed she used a Google translator asking me if I will wake up with her at 4:50am to do the 5th exercise together. I was wondering if I could do it but quickly answer with my finger up that I’ll do it. Next morning, she woke me at that time and I sat on the bed. She was on the floor ready for the meditation. I tried to stay awake and hardly did half an hour of meditation, then I fell asleep again up to FZN time. I always found that the Chinese practitioners with whom I am in touch with are so diligent at doing the exercises at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning, never mind what time they go to bed. I still need to remove this notion of mine "if I don’t sleep enough time I will be very tired the next day". But during the 10 days of our tour it obviously seemed that we could endure it even without sleep or with just a few hours. So I still had to remove this thought and work hard on it.
The last day of our tour in Warsaw, when we returned to the hotel, we gathered in the garden to listen to two of our fellow practitioners playing the flute. The music was so tender and touching. After playing for a while at night, suddenly a young lady came to listen. She was very surprised, and said that she heard the music from her room and had come down to see from where this music came. Then, she asked me where we came from and where she could listen to our music. I told her that we were on an East European Tour and it was our last day. She really felt sorry to hear that, but I quickly gave her our Web site and wrote down the name, Tianguo Marching Band. Then I explained to her the meaning of our parades and clarified the truth about Falun Gong. Some fellow practitioners quickly gave me a flyer and lotus flowers, she looked so happy after meeting us. I was thinking of how predestined she was and what a good way to be saved.
Here, I remember the ‘Tian Guo Marching Band’ poem written by Master Li:
“Drums and horns of Fa display divine might
Purging all manner of evil,
beckoning souls back to heaven
Heaven n’ earth are in awe
as the Band saves lives at the end of time
Its glorious light shines
in the cosmic Fa-rectification”
I would like to thank all the new comers and the very young practitioners who also gave me a good example by playing very well, especially in our flute section. Although they endured all the marches, long trips, rain and heat they were always smiling. I treasure all the sharing with the fellow practitioners around me, the beautiful sound of our songs singing by our practitioners during the breaks, the joy of walking together in every parade, studying Fa together, doing exercises, the time we stayed together. It’s the best journey of Tianguo Marching Band I had ever done.
Thank you, Master for this great opportunity to save sentient beings, to help us to reach a better understanding in our cultivation, for your compassion and caring for us all the time.
Please, point me out if something is not in accordance with the Fa principles.
Chinese version: http://www.zhengjian.org/node/155677