Thursday, January 31, 2008

Teeth and Knees: Bad Habits

I've been noticing recently some physical, non-musical things I do while playing. Mainly, the reason I've been noticing his because these things are causing me pain: I clench my teeth and lock my knees when I play. I'm sure they are affecting my playing via my phrasing and tempo. It's not a consistent thing. It doesn't even happen just when playing a more difficult piece. It's intermittent, habitual, and seemingly random.

This reminds me of the importance of not picking up bad performance habits. Beyond these physical habits, I’m trying to break some bowing habits (e.g., starting everything with a down bow or not using hooked bowing) and some bad fingering habits. (I'm not as worried about the fingering as the bowing as my intonation is good. Maybe I’m even on to another "new method.") In the end, these habits serve as roadblocks in my playing and a need to break them.

I've been able to break other bad performance habits. For example, I used to brathe heavily through my mouth to the tempo of the music. This created a strange "huffing" or "whooping" sound on 1 and 3, 2 and 4, … or every beat. Fortunately I broke the habit. Unfortunately, there are at least four recordings out there where, if you listen carefully, you have definitive proof of this bad habit.

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