8 months ago

Mandolu's Music Practice Tips Post No.4 Relaxation


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I want to start this post with something that is really important to your musician skills, but which many people forget to implement... Relaxation.

Pre Practice Relaxation Exercise

We all carry tension caused from our daily stresses at work, life's responsibilities , the weight of the world on our shoulders. Before you settle down to practice each day you need to consciously remove these stresses from your mind and body. Some simple breathing exercises are a good way to start whilst at the same time taking notice of which parts of your body are holding tension.

After doing some diaphragm breathing, relax your whole body and then tense up each limb individually and then release that tension. This is to remind you of the difference in feeling between tense and relaxed. Start with your toes, then your whole foot, ankles calves, thighs. Work your way up your body paying extra attention to your neck and shoulders as this is a place that many people store tension. After you have finished bend over from standing position and shake your arms, imagining that the stored tension is leaving your body through your fingertips, then try to relax the whole body and get ready to start your music practice.

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While you Practice

Start you usual practice, your scales, that riff you are trying to get right, whatever is your normal practice routine. Now as you are playing, take note of your relaxation. Are your hands relaxed? Is your neck and shoulder area relaxed? If you feel any tension, stop and relax the tense parts and try again. You will start to become aware of this and begin to notice that when you are properly relaxed your technique is better, your timing is on the beat and you will surprise yourself at how fast you now make progress.

Try This

Play something you know well.Now concentrate on playing it with tension in your hands. Then relax your hands, play it again. Feel the difference. If your phone is handy, record both of them.

Hear the Difference

The relaxed version should sound SO much better!

Performing

Relaxing is even more important for giving a great performance. Now you have nerves to cope with and this can cause a whole lot more tension, coming from your mind. You need to compose yourself and remember your practice relaxation preparation exercises and take a couple of minutes before you go on stage to do some breathing.

Tell yourself that your relaxation practice will pay off once you are on stage Enjoy your performance, knowing that you have spent time and energy preparing yourself. The more you put these relaxation exercises into practice the more you will find that you relax when you perform. This is due to muscle memory which grows and strengthens over time. The relaxation practice re-programs your playing techniques.

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If you ,missed my earlier music practice posts here are links to them below:
Mandolu's Music Practice Tips No. 1 How to Learn To Play Music
Mandolu's Music Practice Tips No. 2 Fun With Scales
Mandolu"s Music Practice Tips No 3 Developing Listening Skills

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