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The magic in hot water (Read 1345 times)

Offline mjames

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The magic in hot water
« on: July 16, 2015, 06:28:30 PM »
I'm not sure if it's just me being superstitious or not but whenever my hands are feeling stiff or 'heavy' due to nerves or whatever, hot water seems help my hands become lighter and 'stress' free. You know that feeling you get before a concert, gig or recital? The nerves start affecting your hands, it feels weird, stressful etc, but for some reason hot water seems to help with that too :O My hands get all light and stuff and I can play with no worries. Is this just me being superstitious (routine to help me calm down) or is there some physical/biological reason for it?

Offline themeandvariation

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Re: The magic in hot water
«Reply #1 on: July 16, 2015, 07:34:26 PM »
Hi mjames.  I don't know the science of it, though 'warming' can have a calming effect… many have used this technique… (Gould, among others..) Whatever works for you is the key..
Also, deep breathing can be helpful. Also, being that stress is in the mind, sometimes deep breathing can make the moment feel Too serious, in which case, one could sing, in Long tones, one of the melodies, (or bass lines, for that matter) of the first piece to be played… This will also have you breathing deeper, yet with it not as the primary focus… Many have rituals before performing…
"superstition"? …  Well I would argue that music itself is a kind of superstition of suspending the logic of 'the everyday'… :)
Cheers!
ps… sometimes the effect of warm water is not so lasting as, say,  wearing fuzzy leather gloves from an hour before the performance starts…
4'33"

Offline cbreemer

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Re: The magic in hot water
«Reply #2 on: July 16, 2015, 07:51:17 PM »
I believe this is a fairly standard way of relaxing the hands before a performance, especially with string players. I like to do this before practicing in winter, when I seem to have perpetual cold hands.

Offline gvans

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Re: The magic in hot water
«Reply #3 on: July 18, 2015, 05:49:55 PM »
I recall some 19th century virtuoso, maybe Liszt, maybe Chopin, who always rinsed his hands in cold--not hot--water before a performance. Counter-intuitive, I know. I tried this as an undergrad, it actually seemed to help. Perhaps the brain registers your hands are cold and sends more blood to them, or causes them to vasodilate, or who knows.

Another counter-intuitive thing: if your hands are cold, put on another sweater or jacket, that will warm your core and warm up your hands without gloves.