To improve faster, slow down & relax!

Very often we rush into the practice with the feeling that we do not have enough time to master everything we want. No wonder, because the things to master are endless – that is the nature of all true arts … 😉

What’s next? We speed up our exercises, create more tensions in the body and the mind, and therefore we slow down our learning process. My first music teacher, that was on the guitar, said:

“Speed is a by-product of accuracy”

And further we did know already, that the real programming of muscle memory, which we also need to train to get all the musical phrases, licks and patterns through the fingers to our instruments, happens after a lot of exact repetitions. I heard of 40 repetitions in row, without any mistake in between, and then we “stored” the thing (a melody, a lick, a movement, a musical idea, …) in our system, it goes “into our blood” as we say.

More than that: when you slow down even more, you can experience a state of deep relaxation, maybe even meditative or trance like. In the deep relaxed state you can willingly relax much more and much deeper. This makes your exercise the most efficient, and also you will avoid doing harm to yourself.

“Only in the state of deep relaxation, time is on our side!”
(quote by myself)

My Shiatsu Teacher, who is also a Martial Arts Master, quoted some Masters from the older days, explaining two different states of the mind:

1. The common state, in witch we feel like constantly being pushed by time, restless rushing
2. The state of the Master, who reversed that: He is pushing the time!

Just to share another quote to think about, maybe you will get inspired. The bottom line is: This is all theory only, we do need to experience it!

How to apply deep relaxation while practicing

Give it a try. Whatever you are working on at the moment, take the time, have some deep (or normal!) breaths, check the tempo you are exercising in at the moment, and slow it down drastically. Then repeat what you did, and while doing so, start to relax all parts of your body, one by one.

Take some 10 minutes for just one little phrase, or one scale, whatever, and I wish you an enlightening experience!

A little note on timing and very slow tempi:

Also consider that practicing in time with a metronome very slow is also not too easy. So when you overdo the “slowing down” as well, then you will just have another source for stress again …

Practicing very slow requires a good timing, and this is worth to train by itself, first not to be combined with scales, phrases or playing tunes. So for the technical benefit on your instrument, take a speed that is most convenient to you, and from there on slow down a bit more step by step.

I wish you a happy practice, and enjoy the time!

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