Tag Archives: body awareness

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

3 Suggestions for Percussionists (and Other Musicians ) to Avoid Tension

Concert hall with percussion instruments and Gabriela playing vibraphone

1) Be in balance while standing

If you have pain in your lower back or your legs feel tired after practicing while standing, it’s likely that your body is not balanced. This means that some parts of your body are doing extra work. They try to do the functions that other structures should be doing. Continue reading 3 Suggestions for Percussionists (and Other Musicians ) to Avoid Tension

Your wrists in music

This is a quick explanation about the wrist and an example of how to transform a mis-mapping.

Watch the video and play music without tension in your body!

In my last notes I explained what body maps are and also that Body Mapping is about identifying and correcting mis-mapping that can cause pain and tension, and compromise our health while playing music. I mentioned a common mis-maping in the perception of our wrists.

Some mis-mappings are acquired by observing how the people in our lives move, our parents, friends, or teachers. When learning music we follow the instructions of the teachers and things like: “your wrist moves like a hinge” are the type of information that is not accurate and contributes to our mis-mappings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGP0nUkitvs

Now the next step for you is to try to relate this information to your performance. Observe yourself practicing and notice how this can affect and improve your playing.

Let me know your discoveries and/or questions!

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