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Relaxation exercises.....? (Read 4562 times)

Shagdac

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Relaxation exercises.....?
« on: July 15, 2004, 05:57:57 PM »
Desperately need any advise you can give on relaxation techniques that can be consciously done while performing for others. Yesterday, inexplainably for some reason I completely "tensed" up in front of my teacher. I have no idea why...I feel completely comfortable in front of him, but I realized it right away, stopped, took a deep breath and continued. He noticed immediately as well. By the time I had reached the 3rd page of the piece I was so exhausted I could barely move my fingers. We were both concerned as to why this occurred all of the sudden. The only reason I could think of was that it was so important to me that I play well for him, that possibly in trying so hard, I did the opposite, thus tensing so much I could hardly play.

At any rate, it really became a problem and it reached a point where I could hardly play anything!!! I've never had this happen before. When I returned to my home, I tried to play in front of family...the same thing happened.
Now, even when I am completely alone, it is happening. Possibly so worried about it happening, that I am making it happen. What concerns me the most is that this came out of nowhere. Meaning, I have never had performance anxiety, at least like this. I've been trying to think of something that has triggered this, but much to no avail. And it's ridiculous, because I don't FEEL uptight, but obviously I must be.

I really need some advice that that I can use immediately, I don't have time to spare. I HAVE to get this under control...and right now. Please, ANY suggestions are very much appreciated.

Thanks for your time!

Susan :-/  

Offline Hmoll

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #1 on: July 15, 2004, 06:18:03 PM »
There are a lot of relaxation exercises. If I feel too tense I try this: Take any piece you are working on - preferable one where you are particularly tense. Play each note hands sep. using a full arm drop on each note. Do not move on to the next note until you can feel your shoulder, arm, wrist, etc.  totally relaxed. This is a very slow process, and can take several seconds for each note. You can check on yourself by shaking your arm. Lifting your arm with the other hand, or - better yet - having someone else do it.  As you are working through the piece - and it could take a few days to do this - focus on the relaxed feeling you are achieving. Notice the difference between when you are totally relaxed and not quite totally relaxed. Try to capture that feeling in your memory so you can recreate it.

The other suggestion I have is tension does not happen in a vacuum. There may be something else happening in your life that is making you tense - don't  meant to get personal - but try to isolate that.

Also, you might want to consider learning self-hypnosis, or meditation - even Alexander, or Feldenkreis type tecniques.

Best of luck.
"I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it will be behind me!" -- Max Reger

Shagdac

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #2 on: July 15, 2004, 10:01:05 PM »
Thanks so much Hmoll....I really appreciate your advice. I am going to try it immediately!


Thanks again,
S :)

Offline donjuan

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #3 on: July 16, 2004, 03:59:51 AM »
I came to my teacher and played for him, and I couldnt understand why I couldnt play with any strength or independence of fingers.  After playing horrifically badly for a number of lines, he interrupted me and told me to drop my finger to the bottom of the key and not play the next one until I feel relaxed while holding the key.  It worked wonders for me right then, and now I try to play each note to the bottom- so I feel the keybed under the key.  I feel more stable like this.  Try it out- It is kind of the same idea as Hmoll.
donjuan

f0bul0us

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #4 on: July 16, 2004, 04:33:46 AM »
Quote
I came to my teacher and played for him, and I couldnt understand why I couldnt play with any strength or independence of fingers.  After playing horrifically badly for a number of lines, he interrupted me and told me to drop my finger to the bottom of the key and not play the next one until I feel relaxed while holding the key.  It worked wonders for me right then, and now I try to play each note to the bottom- so I feel the keybed under the key.  I feel more stable like this.  Try it out- It is kind of the same idea as Hmoll.
donjuan

The same trick works for pieces with very soft passages. You get a more complete sound that's very easy to distinguish from somebody who's just hitting the notes, but not getting down to the keybed.

Offline donjuan

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #5 on: July 16, 2004, 05:28:11 AM »
I think Claudio Arrau has the right idea.  He looks so natural when he plays- Very firm, and never brittle..Perhaps dropping to the bottom is the key, yes?
donjuan

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #6 on: July 16, 2004, 02:54:00 PM »
Quote

The same trick works for pieces with very soft passages. You get a more complete sound that's very easy to distinguish from somebody who's just hitting the notes, but not getting down to the keybed.

This brings up an interesting point: The impact that a key has when it hits the keybed has a significant effect on the resulting tone quality. Manufacturers of high-quality pianos make an effort to select just the right piece for wood for the keybed. When a key hits the keybed, its vibrations get transmitted to the soundboard adding more complex resonances to the overall tone, which results in a "more complete" sound as Super fun happy man describes (on good pianos, anyway). Therefore, if you want a richer tone, press the key all the way down, and it even makes a difference how hard you hit the keybed. However, if that type of tone quality is not desired, then one must not hit the keybed.
Relaxing in the keybed is good, particularly when playing chords, but one must really relax and not press down on the key with additional force, as this would only lead to more tension.

Shagdac

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #7 on: July 17, 2004, 03:18:00 AM »
Hey thanks you guys! I really appreciate it. I have tried your suggestions and while I still have to work at dropping "all" the way down, I think it's going to make a tremendous difference. I saw my "Dr." friend today, and was telling him about my problem. He proceeded to give me a  hour long report about how Red Skeleton suffered from anxiety before performances and would vomit before each and every one. He then gave me a sample bottle of "Visken"....said it would not inhibit me at all, make my drowsy, etc....the only thing it would do, would stop nervous symptoms (tensing, heart racing, etc). I had to laugh a little. I never expected that. I stated to him, I didn't want to have to "do anything" special in order to perform, never had a problem before, and couldn't understand why this was all of the sudden.

Has anyone else ever heard of this medication? I don't
plan on using it or even trying it, unless of course, worse comes to worst! Thanks again for your help!

S :)

Offline xvimbi

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Re: Relaxation exercises.....?
«Reply #8 on: July 17, 2004, 03:36:00 AM »
Quote
He then gave me a sample bottle of "Visken"....said it would not inhibit me at all, make my drowsy, etc....the only thing it would do, would stop nervous symptoms (tensing, heart racing, etc). I had to laugh a little. I never expected that. I stated to him, I didn't want to have to "do anything" special in order to perform, never had a problem before, and couldn't understand why this was all of the sudden.

Has anyone else ever heard of this medication?

Wow, you must be really screwed up :P
(just kidding)

Check out:
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic3/pindolol_ad.htm

http://www.rxmed.com/b.main/b2.pharmaceutical/b2.1.monographs/CPS-%20Monographs/CPS-%20(General%20Monographs-%20V)/VISKEN.html

(this link is weird, you may have to go to http://www.rxmed.com and search for visken. It's really worth it)

http://www.healthsquare.com/newrx/VIS1485.HTM

http://drugscanada.medbroadcast.com/drug_info_details.asp?brand_name_id=141