Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

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Page 33 of 35

My Precipice 34 wholelifetimes.com backwords FINDING HOME FINDING HOME I have been playing the piano since the age of three and touring since I was twelve. When I fi rst sat down at the pi- ano, I ran my hands over the keys and thought, "I've done this before," and I was already playing. By my mid-twenties, I had developed a severe case of tendonitis in both wrists. This became so intrusive that within fi ve years, I had to curtail all live performing. I was determined to conquer this, so I investigated everything and since I was living in California, I do mean everything! I consulted conventional surgeons, hand surgeons, and psychic surgeons. I tried acupuncturists and chiropractors. I certainly tried prayer. I meditated. I tried people who shook strange objects over my head and chanted in weird guttural languages that I didn't understand, but I was always told the same thing: I would never play the way I used to play. This is a precipice. In our lives, we will all face them. It could be a physical precipice like this one, a psychological precipice, a spiritual one, a fi nancial precipice, or a crisis of consciousness. It is my experience that if one faces these precipices head on, no matter how much the fear, one will overcome them. D.H. Law- rence said, "When one jumps over the edge, one is bound to land somewhere." When I jumped off my cliff, that's when I met Professor Phil Cohen, Artistic Director Emeritus at the Leonardo Project in Montreal. Phil listened to me for the two minutes that I could play be- fore my wrists gave out. He then said: "I will have you playing better than ever in six months, but you must unlearn everything you know about the piano." My ego said, "Who is this person to tell me these things?" but my heart said, "Yes, let's go!" The initial stages were extremely diffi cult. I had been taught the conventional German classical technique of playing. This means that one's fi ngers do most of the work. However, Phil pointed out that any other athletic endeavor uses one's core in conjunction with the largest muscles to perform and the tra- ditional approach is simply counter-intuitive. In addition, one's wrist cavity is very small with many tendons and ligaments passing through it. This makes it very easy for chronic injuries to occur. Phil taught me a very unconventional technique requiring a fl at wrist and playing like a martial artist. After six months, I had tripled my playing time, but I was more depressed than ever. I stomped into the studio, and yelled, "This is useless!" Phil very quietly said, "If you had to play a concert tomorrow, how would you do it?" "That is impossible!" I exclaimed. He repeated the question. I closed my eyes, imagined, and said, "I would play very slowly and sensitively" … and then started crying. I realized that there was a whole area of music that I had not explored because of my fears and ego! From that point on, I made rapid progress, expanded my mu- sical compositions and scope, invented The Refractor Piano™, resumed my concertizing, and am now playing, I believe, better than ever! This precipice showed me that one can overcome anything: JUST KEEP GOING AND TRUST THAT THE PATH WILL REVEAL ITSELF. NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR PRECIPICES! Peter Manning Robinson is an Emmy and BMI award-winning pianist/composer and the inventor of The Refractor Piano™. His immersive concerts combine his original music with visuals by Hana Kim and Klaus Hoch. Email him imagemusicpmr@gmail.com or visit his website http://www.petermanningrobinson.com JUST KEEP GOING AND TRUST THAT THE PATH WILL REVEAL ITSELF By Peter Manning Robinson 34 wholelifetimes.com Photos: Klaus Hoch

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