13. Live Inside Your Notes
As you enter your warmups, whether long tones or slow scales, take the time to create a quality of sound that you could live in. A sound so full and rich, but not forced, that allows you to relax within. Imagine what the sound’s color would be. Imagine the texture of it if you could touch it. Is it hard and brittle, or soft and luxuriant? As you move to another note, feel like you are simply moving into another room in the same sound-house, with slight variation but the same welcoming feeling. Get to know this place. Be an interior sound designer, exploring all the possibilities of color, shape, and tone, until you have made your sound a place of welcome not only for yourself, but your audience as well.
14. Find the sweet spot between playing and practicing
- Bring your body into stillness, and mentally follow your breath for 30 seconds.
- Take whatever passage you are working on and imagine how it would feel to play or sing it with utter freedom and ease.
- Play or sing the passage with that freedom and ease, letting mistakes fall where they may.
- Return to stillness, find your center, and take 10 seconds to follow your breath.
- Calmly address each insecure note with the calmness that you would have if teaching a five-year old how to tie a shoe.
- Repeat this process as many times as you like, until you find yourself in the zone of stillness, ease, and freedom with even the most difficult of passages.
15. Experience clarity before practicing:
Begin by sitting or standing balanced and relaxed. Breathe deeply into your lower lungs. With each exhalation, visualize a wave of relaxation descend from your head, through your neck and shoulders, down your arms and torso, and into your legs. Let that wave wash away any excess tension, any stress that doesn’t need to be there. Reclaim the open space in your body. Allow your mind to follow your breath as it flows naturally. Keep this space as open as possible throughout your practice. Allow your musical intuition to flourish.
16.Learn how to breath diaphragmatically (Especially for string players)
Have you ever experienced frustration of trying NOT to be stressed out and anxious about how you play? If so, try this to break the vicious cycle:
1. Learn how to breath diaphragmatically: in through the nose, all the way into the lower lungs. This not only helps your oxygenation, but tells the brain that things are OK, that it is safe to move out of the “fight or flight” modality that many of us remain stuck in.
2. Play a down bow on an open string, breathing deeply but gently in through your nose as you draw the bow. Gently exhale through your nose as you return on the up bow. Pause at the frog if needed. Repeat a few times, but not too many as to become too light headed!
Afterwards, pause to feel the effect.
3. Before playing the open string again, this time breathe in deeply and gently BEFORE, then exhale as you draw the bow down and up. Pause as needed, then inhale deeply but gently again.
You are now training your brain to associate freedom from limbic fight or flight reactions with your beautiful relaxed sound.