Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Adding Rests

Rest here
I'm still struggling with a microbe looking to hijack my biochemistry.  I did rest last night and left work early today for more of the same.  As I was practicing tonight, I reflected on rests and recalled Pedro de Alcantatra's exercise of adding a rest in the first beat of every bar.  He details this in his excellent book Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique (Clarendon Paperbacks).  This exercise disrupts habitual playing and allows me to notice where I am adding unnecessary tension to the act of playing.

Tonight I applied this to a tremolo piece - Senseless Loss. I modified the exercise to add a rest after every bass note.   By playing bass note/rest/high note/high note/high note, I was able to keep releasing my right elbow and arm.  At one point while pausing to inhibit via the Alexander Technique I noticed what has become a habit, albiet a good one, but could now be getting in my way. I decided that while it is fine to inhibit and direct before bringing my hands to the guitar, why not inhibit with my hands in playing position?  As I did this and followed the directions of allowing my neck, then spine, back, legs, arms to be free I noticed a slight letting go in an area of my upper arm that tends to get tight from playing.

When this tightness manifest, there is also an area on the right side of my neck that is sore as well as an area around my elbow.  Any healthy way I can lessen this tension can only improve my playing.  Chuckling that just how additional rest is improving my health right now, that adding rests in my playing is improving this also.  C'est la vie, viva la siesta.

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