Category Archives: Awareness

How Does Your Body React When You’re Stressed in a Music Setting?

Cat's face expression of surprise

There are numerous stories in our journey of music making. Some of them make us feel complete and encourage us to keep going and enjoy our music. However, there are also times when we face situations that make us believe that we are not talented (“enough”) and lose our confidence.

If you want to know how these experiences feel in your body, try the next exercise!

Continue reading How Does Your Body React When You’re Stressed in a Music Setting?

Are you tense in your neck?

Picture of a woman's neck.

A few days ago I remembered how important it is to know the right way to use our tools, so that we don’t hurt ourselves. By tools I mean several things, from a hammer and pliers to the instruments we play, sticks and mallets, bows, microphones, etc. Mics weren’t in my awareness until the last time that I went to a show. Continue reading Are you tense in your neck?

Recharge with Five Minutes of Constructive Rest

Winter landscape

It is the end of the year, winter is starting and the day light savings and the upcoming solstice are making me feel drained. It doesn’t matter how important or exciting the events in my life are, my body is tired.

We are so used to demanding a lot from ourselves and in this thinking sometimes we believe that sleeping and resting less would increase our productivity. Productivity meaning: practicing more, playing more, planning classes, writing, sending emails, etc. Continue reading Recharge with Five Minutes of Constructive Rest

Releasing the tension in the jaw

Last week I bit my food in a weird way, and this produced pain that has lasted all week in one of my teeth. Since then, I’ve been more aware of how I eat and of the amount of tension that this pain has produced in my jaw.

However, the tension around my jaw is not new. Since I started being more conscious about my body, I’ve noticed the patterns that I repeat which produce tension in this area. For example, usually I clench my teeth when I’m stressed. This happens in different circumstances when I practice, play or even when I’m writing an email. Do you experience something similar?

Are you aware of your jaw when you play?

What do you know about the jaw?

Have you noticed if you clench your jaw when you’re trying to play faster or in any other situation?

In the next video I explain some things to help you to reduce the tension in your jaw.

 

Breaking Bad Habits in Music

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a colleague who expressed some of his concerns and questions. This is my answer which I wanted to share with everyone.

The message had two parts. The first is the issue between tension and relaxation concepts for learning to play an instrument. In the second part he asked some questions: How to unlearn wrong ideas? How to make a change in students’ ways of thinking so that they can learn to relax?

I will begin to answer the questions, and then I will use relaxation and tension as an example. Continue reading Breaking Bad Habits in Music

Your attention please

Swimming in the ocean.

 “The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer.”
(Csikszentmihalyi, 2008, p. 31.)

When I was ten, I used to swim every day. I already knew how to swim, but I took classes for years because I enjoyed to be in the water. I lived in a place with hot and humid weather. Even when raining, I was there, the only child wanting to swim.

One day in the class, we were starting our laps from one starting track, as if we were in a competition. Imagine all the children in a line waiting for their turn. I was the last, I was there ready for jumping. I heard the whistle and I jumped. When I fell into the water I started to swim, but I couldn’t move forward. My teacher, who was inside the pool, stopped me. Confused, I stood up and I asked what was happening. He told me:

  • “You don’t do it like that anymore. You already know how to do it.”

I smiled. I thought “what did I do wrong?” Without thinking too much, I repeated the jump and, this time, I could continue my way to the other side of the pool.

Many years after, I remember my percussion teacher asking me why I was doing something wrong, if I already knew the right way to do things. He used to say:

  • “You don’t play like that.”

Yes, by observing more carefully, I noticed that I was playing differently than what I thought. There was an awkward new movement in my arms or the sticks were not at the same height, etc.

The swimming and the percussion lessons have something in common: my lack of attention. Continue reading Your attention please