The Art of Relaxation
Summertime is here! It’s time to relax and have some fun! But did you know that relaxation can help you be a better musician? Keeping a relaxed body while you practice and perform is a key ingredient to having a more open and free sound.
Tension is often the enemy of the musician. Whether you are a singer and your jaw locks up, you’re a guitar player and your wrist is too tight, or you’re a piano player and your shoulders tense up, tension negatively affects how we all play and sing. It creates a strained sound that doesn’t feel or sound natural, but we often don’t notice it until we relax enough to feel and hear the difference. But why do we tense up in the first place? A lot of it can come from not having enough patience.
It’s easy to lose patience when working on a piece and not having it come out right no matter how many times we seem to try. This is when we get frustrated and our body reacts by adding tension in the most inconvenient places–like what you need to use for your instrument! A lot of that stems from a place of perfectionism and not wanting to make a mistake. But the good thing news is: everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect–not even your teachers! As music students and music teachers, we are always learning and trying to improve, and it can be discouraging when it doesn’t happen right away. This is when we need to take a step back, breathe and relax, and try again.
Next time you practice, take a moment to relax your body and brain first, and see how big of a difference it makes!