On Practice: Relaxation
By Daniel Roest

In the Olympics, it's usually the athlete with the most efficient and relaxed technique that places first. Watch the best professional musicians, and you can't help but marvel at their relaxed technique. So many notes, and so little effort! As Christopher Parkening advises in  his method book, base your technique on relaxation. After getting in to the best sitting position, be conscious of the tension that creeps into your playing  your left hand, your right hand, your neck, shoulders, back, your face  anywhere it happens. Pay attention to your breathing  you'll do  better if you simply breathe more deeply, which should also slow down your breathing and heart rates.  Train to be a relaxed player, and you'll become a relaxed player. For situational tension such as performing for a teacher or onstage, see Performance Anxiety. One of the best things you can do to stay relaxed is to pay more attention to the rhythm of the music. Sync constantly with the beat and the tempo you started with. Find the groove and hang in it.
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