Tension In the Body Prevents Guitar Improvement
One of the most important things you must keep in mind when you practice and play is that
all the parts of your body affect each other as you are making the movements involved in
playing. If you want maximum guitar improvement every time you practice you must be
aware of your whole body as you practice, not just your fingers.
This is especially true when doing movements requiring a lot of strength or stretching from the fingers, such as bar chords and the type of movements found in most guitar exercises.
One Of The Most Important Factors For Avoiding Bad Habits
This begins with an awareness of how your body feels and what it is doing as you simply sit and hold the guitar. Then, we must pay attention and discover what happens to various parts of your body as you place your fingers in the often stressful positions that we must assume when playing music.
Take The "Tension Test"
To discover these things, and to fully understand why you must pay great attention to your whole body during every moment of practice and playing, watch this video. As you follow along with me, you will discover great area of body tension you never felt before.
How did that go?
Don't feel bad, this is the way it is for everyone. The sooner you catch this excess body tension, deal with it, and eliminate it from your playing and practice by using whole body awareness, the sooner you will see your guitar playing improve and feel better than ever before.
Let's look at the explanation of whole body awareness contained in "The Principles"...
From The Principles -"One of the most important things you must keep in mind when you practice and play is that all the parts of your body affect each other as you are making the movements involved in playing.
If you want to have the control of the fingers necessary to play well, you must be aware of your whole body as you practice, not just your fingers. This begins with an awareness of how your body feels and what it is doing as you simply sit and hold the guitar.
I will illustrate this by telling you about two students who started lessons with me as beginners. They were mother and son, the mother middle aged, and the son about twelve years old.
The mother went first, and I showed her how to position the guitar on her legs, classical style, and then I placed her arm on top of the guitar. I told her to relax into that position, which she did to the best of her ability.
However, as I checked her over, I saw that the area from her shoulders to her neck was raised, bringing her shoulders up even though she wasn’t doing anything with her hands! I pointed this out to her, and with a little focusing of her attention there, and the help of a mirror, she was able to relax them.
I had her focus on this feeling of relaxation since she would have to get very used to this feeling.
Now when it came to her son, it was even more interesting. He could not even sit with the guitar without his legs tensing and moving around, probably in an attempt to feel secure with the guitar. His arms also tensed, and pulled and pushed the guitar. Any attempt to learn to play would have been useless without addressing this situation first.
By making him aware of all this, and having him sit to the edge of the chair with good posture, he began to get comfortable holding and sitting with the guitar.
I had him just sit with it motionless, focusing his attention on his body, and relaxing. Like many people, he found that he would tense up without even attempting to use either hand."
Whole Body Awareness
1. Your whole body will tense in various places and various ways as you use your fingers.
2. This happens to everyone, from the beginning of playing, but most don't feel it.
3. This tension affects your ability to control your fingers.
4. Muscle memory will make sure this tension is there every time you play.
5. This tension can be avoided, right from the beginning, by using the practice methods in "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar".
If You Are beginning guitar OR already play: The best thing you can do is to begin to practice whole body awareness as you practice and play.If you do, you will see a surprising new feeling of control in all your playing
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