#1
Anyone ever hear of this? I have a big problem with tension while I play. I've tried everything to get rid of it, stretching, holding my pick differently, sitting, standing, even just trying to relax. But at this point it's so bad I'm actually getting worse at playing. And that makes me want to play less, which also makes me worse at playing. At this point, I'm pretty shit, not that I was ever really that great.

Anyway, anybody ever heard of "Alexander Technique"? I found it while googling about tension while playing guitar, apparently some musicians have found it helpful. Anybody here ever try it? Is it good, or just new age BS?
#2
Alexander what? Anyway, if you have practiced all those you listed, you aren't trying hard enough.

Maybe if you just try to forget about it and relax a little while you're holding your guitar and then just play. See what exactly causes the problem.
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#3
maybe your just stressing yourself too much while you play
just relax a bit and dont put any pressure o yourself


and no ive never heard of alexander technique before this but it sounds like new age bs to me...but im never really stressed or anythin ive never had a reason to try it
it might work for you
#4
It could help but by the sounds of it you'd benefit from more more basic relaxation exercises first. Google 'progressive relaxation exercise'
#5
Quote by Legion6789
Anyone ever hear of this? I have a big problem with tension while I play. I've tried everything to get rid of it, stretching, holding my pick differently, sitting, standing, even just trying to relax. But at this point it's so bad I'm actually getting worse at playing. And that makes me want to play less, which also makes me worse at playing. At this point, I'm pretty shit, not that I was ever really that great.

Anyway, anybody ever heard of "Alexander Technique"? I found it while googling about tension while playing guitar, apparently some musicians have found it helpful. Anybody here ever try it? Is it good, or just new age BS?


Simple question: does it cost money? If yes then don't bother because you can find information just as good out there for free.
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#6
The money isn't really an issue. Over the last 6 years I've sank an obscene amount of time and money into guitar. But nothing seems to help.

I've been through 7 teachers. I've practiced 3+ hours per day. I even bought a flight case for my les paul so I could bring it on vacation with me and practice.

I've tried practicing the most elemental aspects of guitar, simple single string 3 note combinations and 1-2-3-4 spider exercises. I've done these to metronomes and slowly increased the tempo like everyone says to do. I've tried just upping the speed past my comfort zone and then coming back down.

I've tried the opposite, only working on licks and songs, taking a cue from Kenny Powers "I'm not trying to be the best at exercising." I've tried practicing these with Guitar Pro, with a metronome, with no metronome. I've tried while being only focused on guitar, I've tried mindless repetition while watching TV.

I've tried drinking, smoking, hot yoga, breathing exercises, stretching. Nothing. Always the same thing, my right and/or left hand just starts to tense and lock up.

The other day I was so frustrated I just started smashing the back of my hand against the desk. This surprisingly worked for about a minute before it started to lock up again. However, I question the longevity of this strategy.

I'm not trying to be a guitar god, but I can't even execute the musical ideas I have in my head when I'm trying to write a song. I find the solo in Whole Lotta Love difficult and can only pull it off 50% of the time, and this is after 6 years of practicing.

It's pathetic and no one can tell me why this is happening. I'm at the end of my rope. I just want to enjoy playing again.
#7
I'm actually looking into this because I have crappy posture and a heavy guitar that cause stress on the back. I've heard it gets results, and was even published in a medical journal. It cost money, but I'm too lazy to follow instructions from a youtube video so the more motivation I have the more likely I'll see results. I'll let you know how it affects my playing
#8
Never heard of the alexander technique.. The advice I give my students is this: As soon as you feel yourself begin to become tense in either arm while playing, stop playing. Put your arms at your sides and relax for 15-30 seconds, and then start playing again. The point is to actually PRACTICE relaxing your arm muscles. Over time, you will learn how to relax like this without having to stop playing. Over more time, you wont have to think about relaxing any more, you will just naturally keep yourself relaxed.
#9
The Alexander Technique is part of the curriculum at many performing arts schools (Julliard, School of Music in London-- I think that's the school) because it teaches you to use your body properly. Even the Isreali Air force uses it. It's not new-age stuff; it's principles are scientifically accepted. The British Journal of Medicine just did a study showing good and lasting results with lessons, and there is a pretty good Wikipedia page about it. Hope you get relief!
#10
Quote by Legion6789
Anyone ever hear of this? I have a big problem with tension while I play. I've tried everything to get rid of it, stretching, holding my pick differently, sitting, standing, even just trying to relax. But at this point it's so bad I'm actually getting worse at playing. And that makes me want to play less, which also makes me worse at playing. At this point, I'm pretty shit, not that I was ever really that great.


Do you have some crazy action on your guitar? I once put steel strings on a classical guitar -- the action was pretty high and I couldn't play it for more than a few minutes.

I've tried practicing the most elemental aspects of guitar, simple single string 3 note combinations and 1-2-3-4 spider exercises. I've done these to metronomes and slowly increased the tempo like everyone says to do. I've tried just upping the speed past my comfort zone and then coming back down.


What happens if you open and close you hand repeatedly while holding it below your waist? The level for guitar playing? Above your head? Does it cramp up?

You should be able to do the first two indefinitely, no problem. Lots of people will find the third harder.

Is it both hands or just one? You mention picking and spider exercises so I'm guessing both.

Anyway, anybody ever heard of "Alexander Technique"? I found it while googling about tension while playing guitar, apparently some musicians have found it helpful. Anybody here ever try it? Is it good, or just new age BS?


Only just looked it up. Too vague to tell what it's about. I wouldn't spend a penny on it.
Last edited by QPC_Sam at Jan 30, 2012,
#12
The Alexander Technique is a system for dealing with tension, and I'm sure it's fairly effective - but it has nothing to do with the specifics of guitar playing.

If you have horrible posture (not guitar-specific posture) then it'll help.

If you have problems that are due to incorrectly holding the guitar, fretting, picking... it won't help at all because it's nothing to do with that.

What I'd recommend it getting hold of Jamie Andreas's "Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar".

Also, have you done this kind of practice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvhZ80OsuTQ
#13
Dude, I feel bad for you...but from the way you describe, you're putting WAY too much pressure on yourself. I'm no expert, so I can't give you any advice on technique etc...the other guys here are way better at that than I ever could be. But I would suggest you stop beating yourself up (and smashing your hand on the desk!). Take a deep breath, take your playing back to a point where you're comfortable (and it's fun again), and gradually work your way up. It may sound simple, but we all get so wrapped up and obsessed with wanting to play a particular song or style that we forget that learning is a gradual process. You can't rush it, no matter how hard you try. You certainly seem to have the enthusiasm for playing, I think you just need to relax yourself a bit.