How to Prevent Wrist, Finger, and Forearm Strain When Playing Guitar

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It is often easy to forget how physically demanding playing the guitar can be. It is not uncommon to see guitar players who are suffering from a variety of problems, including tendonitis (an inflammation of the tendons) and carpel tunnel syndrome (when the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, leading to pain, paresthesias, and muscle weakness in the hand).These can be debilitating problems, but they are preventable. There are some important things you can do to protect yourself from having these problems now or later down the road.

First and foremost it is important to stretch before you play or practice, which not only helps to prevent injury, but will also allow you to play more effectively.
The best way to do this is to start off by stretching the fingers one by one.
Start by placing your left hand thumb against your right hand palm and pushing back slightly, not so far that it hurts but far enough so you can feel a stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds. Do this with the rest of your fingers on your left hand, and then repeat the same stretch for all the fingers on the right hand.

This next stretch is great for both your wrists and your forearms. Start by putting your palms together in front of your chest. Slowly push out your elbows and bend your wrists, holding once you feel a good stretch. Next, rotate your wrists forward so your fingers are pointing away from you. Stop and hold when you feel a stretch. After stretching it’s always a good idea to warm up by practicing a few scales, riffs, or chords.

There are some things to keep in mind when you are playing that can help to prevent any problems. First of all, try to keep your wrists as straight as possible when you are playing. When your wrists are bent it will cause unnecessary strain, and also makes it harder to move your fingers. While there are some chords or passages that require you to bend your wrists slightly, it will be better in the long run if you can keep them straight for as long as possible. Just do your best. Also, try not to press on the strings any harder than is absolutely necessary, as doing so will cause a great deal of strain.

Another important tip is to take a break. 15 mins for every hour of playing should do, but take a longer break if you have to. And if you feel any pain or discomfort whatsoever while playing it is important to stop. Trying to play through the pain will only make things worse, so do yourself a favour and stop as soon as you feel any discomfort.

Take care of your hands and wrists and you will be able to experience the joy of playing the guitar for many years to come.

 

Michelle is a guitarist from Québec, Canada. She is currently completing the master certificate program in guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.

If you liked this article and would like to read more, then head on over to Michelle’s blog, The Guitar Player’s Guide.

http://theguitarplayersguide.blogspot.com/

 

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10 Pre-Singing Tips

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Whether you are a beginning vocal student or a seasoned professional, these 10 pre-singing tips apply to all. If you want to be a singer, you have to think like a singer. Take these 10 little tips to heart and you will be more successful than half the people that are out there singing today.

1. Drink a glass of water 

Do not sing with a dry throat. Why, because you sing with your vocal chords and if they are dry, they can be damaged. By drinking at least 8 ounces of water you will properly lubricate your vocal chords and avoid the damage. Also keep a glass of water handy while singing to keep your vocal chords moist.

2. Get plenty of rest 

When you sing, your throat and muscles should be loose. When you’re tired you tend to tense your body. So do not sing if you are overly tired.

3. Wear comfortable clothing 

If you wear tight fitting clothing then you will not be able to breathe properly, and singing is 70% about breathing.

4. Wear comfortable shoes 

As you will see from the next steps, your feet placement is critical to proper singing and it is best to learn to sing with your feet fairly level. High heals will tend to put you in the wrong singing position.

5. Stand up straight 

Singing utilizes your whole body, but most importantly your diaphragm. If you are slouching, you do not have full control over your diaphragm.

6. Shoulders should be down and your chest should be raised 

Imagine that a long cord hanging from the ceiling is connected to your upper chest area. This may feel a little funny at first, but it will give you the correct posture for singing.

7. Position your feet under your shoulders 

Your feet should be a foot or so apart. This gives you more control over your body and will allow you to express yourself with slight body movements while singing.

8. One foot should be 6 to 8 inches in front of the other 

It doesn’t matter which foot. The general rule of thumb is if you are right-handed then your right foot will be in front. This also allows for greater body control.

9. Slightly bend your knees 

It should not be an obvious amount. This is to prevent you from locking your knees while you sing. Locking your knees will cause you to put your weight on your back foot and this is wrong. You want your weight over your body but with a slight emphasis on your front foot.

10. Do not have anything in your mouth when singing 

This sounds strange to have to say, but I have seen many people try to sing with gum in their mouths. You can’t sing properly if you are trying to keep a piece of gum from falling out of your mouth. So get rid of it before you start.

Every professional vocal instructor will tell you that these 10 little tips are the physical and mental preparation needed to begin any voice lesson and certainly every vocal performance. Remember that singing is a physical activity and you must be physically ready to play. With these 10 pre-singing tips and you will go far.

 

Susan Grubbs has been studying voice for 30 years and has been teaching beginning voice students for 15 years. She is a degreed professional singer as well, having studied under many types of vocal coaches over her career. Here are some vocal products [http://socialsinging.com] that she recommends.

 

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Public Speaking – Professional Tips to Improve Your Speaking

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Today, to be successful, a person must have a good command of language. They must be able to express themselves clearly and fluently in ordinary business conversation, across the meeting room table or from the speaker’s platform. The rules that apply to success in public speaking also apply to the person who wants to move up the organisation.

In most situations, public speaking is private conversation raised to a larger audience. Effective communication in ordinary business conversation or public speaking is mostly about the effective transmission of ideas rather than the art of performance.

By applying the following tips you will become a more successful speaker who effectively conveys ideas either in public speaking or in private conversation.

Observe other Successful Speakers

Study what they do and how they do it. Also observe how the audience reacts to them. Emulate the speaker’s good points in your next speech but do not imitate the speaker.

Analyze Your Own Delivery

After you have spoken ask yourself – What went well? And, what will you do better next time? If possible record yourself for later review. When analyzing your performance you are looking for ways to improve. The objective is to find ways to enhance your delivery not to condemn it.

Seek Feedback

Ask other successful speakers and friends to comment on your speech. But be careful. You are looking for people who will want to help you succeed not to tear you down.

Keep the Audience in Mind

Ask yourself the following questions when preparing your speech – Why have I been asked to speak? What is their viewpoint? What type of organisation do they belong to? Is it a professional organisation etc? What age group?

Keep It Simple

Unless you are explaining a technical subject to other technical people, use plain everyday language. If the listener does not understand what you are saying they can become listless and bored. If you have chosen to read your speech or are delivering a memorised speech ensure that you are using spoken language rather than written language. Just because it reads well does not mean it sounds great when spoken.

Be Sincere

A part time speaker with something worthwhile to share, believes in what they are saying and enthusiastically delivers can outperform the professional speaker in the audience’s viewpoint.

Be Brief

Your talk should be long enough to cover the essentials fully but like good literature it should leave the listener wanting a little more.

Thorough Preparation

Preparation is of key importance to effective speaking. Being thoroughly prepared is key to building your self confidence.

Identify the principle reason for your speech. Research your idea fully so that you have mastered your subject. Logically set out your ideas so that your speech will convey your ideas effectively. And finally practice, practice, practice.

Success in business today is about effectively communicating ideas. By applying the above basic techniques you can quickly become adept at conveying your ideas. Being fully prepared, sincere in your delivery, to the point in your speech and considering the listener’s viewpoint you will soon improve your effectiveness.

 

Edward Hope is the editor and publisher of the recently published e-book “The Art of Great Conversation“. To claim your free preview at http://www.SelfConfidentSpeaking.com

 

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Conquering Performance Fears and Anxiety

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Dear bloggers & Face Book users: please help us grow our little music school by sharing and reblogging this post – thank you – S

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Performance fear or performance anxiety takes on several different forms. However, it is associated with the growing awareness and the need to perform according to the standard of your own field of activity, whether it’s your workplace, or an upcoming presentation or speech you must give, or for a specific sports activity. With the pressure to perform ones best, there is always a preconditioned mindset for the person suffering from performance fear that if anything should go wrong, that will eventually impact their performance and reduce it to failure.

Studies are still ongoing to determine exactly the cause of this fear but it is closely coupled to a persons desire to do better at something. As humans, we are not perfect so you need to recognize that experiencing performance fear is considered, completely normal. But some may often have an unrealistic level of fear or misconception about a given situation that impair their logical decision making capacities and can lead to substandard performance.

There are various types of performance fears or anxieties, whether it’s work related, public speaking, or sports event. Therefore, the ways, although similar, in which you deal with a particular fear, will differ as well. Following are some basic methods suggested in order to minimize the level of fear and associated level of anxiety with performing these different tasks.

In sports, the best way to get rid of any performance fears associated when competing at a sports event is to take it easy on yourself. Even the worlds best athletes have their days off, where they may not perform at their maximum potential. When engaged in sports, you cannot expect to win all the time and you must realize your team may lose on occasion. Whatever your sport or related activity, setting realistic goals is the first step that will help you deal with sports performance fears and anxiety. However, you can turn the adrenaline produced by your anxious feelings into energy that you can harness to perform better at your sport. And when you are performing the actual feat, try to enjoy the experience and you will find the process of competition more rewarding.

When Delivering a speech, many people have this fear of speaking in public. Most of that fear is produced by the pressure of having to deliver a flawless speech that is able to communicate the message to the audience effectively. Instead of letting that fear overtake you, harness it into a systematic plan that will ensure you have control over the situation.

Here are a few tips you can apply when preparing to deliver a speech. Be sure you plan ahead and allow time for research for your speech, even if you are an expert in your field. Doing some research can help to confirm your facts and reduce some of your anxiety. Plan ahead the schedule and location where the speech is going to be held. And I’m sure you heard this before, Practice. Practice. Practice.

As for the workplace, there are a few inherently stressful jobs that require a high level of standards for their employees to meet. To stay on top of job related performance anxiety, it is always a good idea to stop and talk about it, with either your boss, co-workers, or family members. Existing in isolation and trying to confront your fears alone could increase your fear thereby increasing your level of anxiety and make the situation worse. It is important to have the support of other people around you. Also, try to change your perspective. There are times where you may experience job inadequacies but view it as a learning curve or just an off day. Aiming for perfection is good but you need to realize that it is unachievable. You should focus on what you can contribute to the company instead of what you are failing to deliver. Is the glass half empty, or half full.

When managing and conquering fear, you need to understand that only you have power over your fear, especially when it determines how well you perform at something. Following are some tips that can be taken in order for you to overcome these fears; Try to identify the source of your problematic perception or anything that could trigger such fears. Once you have identified the external source of your anxiety, look within yourself. Determine how you react to it and why you react in that way. Desist from criticizing yourself or questioning your ability to perform. Instead of letting fear consume you, take the necessary steps and preparations needed for your optimum performance. After completing the performance of your speech, athletic event or job task, do not focus too much on areas of mistakes or failures in a way that it impairs your self-confidence. Instead, look at them as conditions that need improvement in order for you to do better in your next performance.

One final note in dealing with conquering your fears is to seek out some self help information such as articles, audio tapes or videos dealing with this subject. Realize you are not alone in these feelings and many people have contributed some very helpful tactics that will help you to conquer your fear.

 

The author has been studying the reasons for and remedies of our fears to better his own. He believes that all fears can be conquered, which if not dealt with, can hamper a persons ability to achieve all they want from their lives. A video tutorial is available at [http://www.conqure-your-fears.com]

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andre_Beauchamp

Making A Child Famous: What’s The Meaning Of Prosperity Through Music?

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Will my child become the next big star?

As a parent, you have high hopes and expectations for you child. That’s perfectly natural. You want your kid to do better and to achieve more than you did. Basically, you want what’s best for them.

I talk a lot about how music education can bring prosperity to your child’s future. I would like to clarify what I mean by prosperity.

What I mean by prosperity is that music education will develop the skills necessary to succeed in life, regardless of what career your child chooses.

I don’t want anyone to be confused here. What I don’t want people to think is that music education will bring your child prosperity in the form of becoming a famous singer or musical artist. This is not the goal of music education. For me, prosperity is not becoming a celebrity.

The Meaning Of Prosperity Through Music

Prosperity is an advantageous situation where your child will get the most out of his/her education, and enter the working world with the skills that will be required in the future global economy.

It has been scientifically proven that music education increase test scores in Math, Science, and Reading. But besides test scores and grades, your child would actually develop an understanding of those subjects that noticeably surpasses their non-musical peers. I can tell one thing with the utmost certainty: there will be jobs for people that have skills in those areas.

Beyond those three subjects, music education develops social and emotional intelligences, which are highly important in the working world. We all know what it’s like in the work place. It can be a tough social environment. It’s tough to get along with co-workers from time to time. It’s tough to convince your boss that you deserve a raise. It’s tough to convince your manager of your ideas and how they can benefit the company. There are a million scenarios where social skills will really be useful in achieving your goals. Developing these skills give a person an advantage to succeed in the work place, not to mention building relationships and friendships.

What Kind Of Mind Will Be Valuable In The Future Economy?

Another huge bi-product of music education is developing the creative side of the brain. Creative minds are needed in today’s technology-driven, globally-connected economy, and they will surely be needed in the future. One of the biggest drivers of an advancing economy is innovation. Without creativity and new ideas, an economy would completely stagnate. That means less jobs for everyone. Those who can create will have a place in the future economy.

Your Child Will Succeed In Life

The most important idea that I want you to walk away with from this article is that music education will develop a portfolio of skills necessary for your child to prosper and succeed in life. The goal of music education is not to become a big star or famous musical artist, or even a singer. That’s not the prosperity I’m talking about. The skills that music education teaches can be used in any profession that your children chooses when they grow up.

Economic prosperity in the future will be for the people with the most skill sets. Take action in getting your child started in learning a musical instrument. Your child’s education will be enriched and he/she will be on a path towards that end goal of economic prosperity that begins with developing a bright mind.

Tony Margiotta is the founder of The Musiconomy, a publishing company advocates musical training as an essential focus in childhood education and development. Sign up for the Free monthly newsletter and special report here:

http://www.themusiconomy.com/newsletter.html

Tony is the author of “A Parent’s Guide: How To Get Your Child Started In Music,” a step-by-step approach that takes you through the process of inspiring musical interest in your child, to making the correct instrument and book purchases, and finding the right teacher. Full of tips, checklists, and more. [http://www.tonysmusicbooks.com/Parents-Guide-Deluxe-Version-Ebook-MP3-201101.htm]

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