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#118: Play Tension Free: How to Calm Your Body, Mind and Music

Wouldn’t it feel great to relax? 

Of course, since this is the Practicing Harp Happiness podcast, I’m not just talking about a cool drink, a good book and a bubble bath. I’m talking about being relaxed when you play the harp. 

You know why it’s important to be relaxed when you play. When your hands, arms, shoulders and the rest of your body feel relaxed, you can practice and play without strain and with freedom, flexibility and flow. When your mind is relaxed, you can concentrate and focus without fear or distraction. When your mind and body are relaxed, your music can also relax so that it can communicate its mood or story in a clear, relatable way.

Does that sound too good to be true, like an impossible dream to you? Let me tell you that it isn’t impossible to achieve. More importantly, this kind of relaxation shouldn’t be just a happy accident for you. 

We teachers are experts at telling our students to relax, but not so expert at showing them the tools they need to practice to make relaxation a habit. But I hope to make up for that today.

Together we will explore the five most common tension traps, things we all do every day in our practice that cause our tension to build. And for each one of those I will give you a one step action to help you learn to instantly release that tension. We’ll also talk about when tension is helpful - you already know when it isn’t! - and how to harness its power and then to let it go.  

But if there’s one thing I want you to get from this podcast episode, it’s this: releasing tension is a technique you will need to practice like every other technical skill. The more you practice it, the more easily you will be able to create relaxation when you need it, for instance, coming up to a tricky spot, playing a fast passage, or playing in a lesson or performance. And at the risk of stating the obvious, the one thing that doesn’t work is to just keep telling yourself to relax, relax, RELAX!

Links to things I think you might be interested in that were mentioned in the podcast episode: 

Get involved in the show! Send your questions and suggestions for future podcast episodes to me at [email protected]


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