The Psychology of Musical Performances – Part 3: How to Avoid Stress

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Thanks for joining me in the third part of my series on the Psychology of Musical Performances. In the first part we talked about How to Balance Your Emotions and last time we talked about Learning to Forgive Yourself. Today we are going to talk about How to Avoid Stress.

There are actually ways to incorporate relaxation into your practice routine. And this doesn’t involve putting down your instrument but actually relaxing while playing.

I like to find a few small sections of the piece I am working on that I am completely comfortable playing and continually go back to them to keep my playing relaxed. Hearing and feeling yourself get through passages you have mastered can help you relax.

If you hit a trouble spot in your practicing take a quick breath and examine yourself. Take a minute to mentally and physically reset yourself. Examine your posture; make sure you are sitting at your instrument correctly and comfortably. I’ve had students in the past who would tense up in times of difficult practice. Sometimes simply putting a hand on their shoulders and reminding them to relax can really help; it’s only practice and there is no need to stress yourself out!

The other component to relaxing yourself is not something you can learn in an instant. As you progress in your playing you will develop more and more strength and proficiency on your instrument. With this strength will come comfort – especially when you start tackling virtuoso music; the more you have played your instrument, the more relaxed you will become while playing.

Relaxation is key to developing yourself as a musician. You must become comfortable with your instrument and be able to relax while playing and practicing. So, in your daily practicing and playing, be aware of how you feel and take the time to adjust yourself to a comfortable playing position and consciously relax. As you develop more strength, over time relaxation will become second nature.

Thanks again for joining me Robert Estrin (949) 244-3729