What is relaxation?
Relaxation should be considered our natural state that fundamentally provides us with a deep rest, at the same time that it helps us to balance metabolism, heart rate and respiration. In this way, knowing what relaxation is and how to relax also frees us from possible tensions, whether muscular or psychological, that accumulate over time.
If we are relaxed we achieve a high state of sensitivity and natural receptivity, which leads to greater attention from each of the cells in our body. Thus, energy expenditure is minimal and has a positive impact on our general state, especially the psychological state.
Relaxation is very important in music. When we study any instrument it is important to be relaxed in order to avoid tension. It will also help us focus better and avoid distractions making it a much more productive study.
In the entire process of relaxation, both physical and mental, control of breathing is the first step and also the most important. Breathing is one of the unconscious processes of the organism such as heartbeat or digestion. However, for various reasons of a social, postural and stress nature, it is very rare to find people who preserve their natural breathing without having been altered over time.
We can appreciate natural breathing when we sleep or in states of maximum relaxation, and of course in babies. However, as an involuntary process that is, even being defective we only notice it in exceptional cases of disturbance, in which emotion, fear or effort intervenes. And yet it affects all our activity and also interpretation and study.
1.1 Respiratory system.
The most common breathing disorders refer to the main muscle groups that carry it out. While the diaphragm should be responsible for the initiation of inspiration, it sometimes happens that the pectoral and rib muscles assume this function, producing tense and high breathing, which transmits tension to the neck and shoulders. Breathing control passes through awareness of the diaphragm and the search for low breathing, coinciding with the point of body balance.
Diaphragmatic breathing is the first step to control physical and mental relaxation, helping to control stress and scenic fear, providing a feeling of spaciousness and security.
Furthermore, it is no coincidence that the pause between sentences or the initial entry of the music is called “breathing” since it is intimately linked to the physical event. Breathing is therefore a very important musical gesture that gives character and control.
Chi-Kung or Ai-Gong is a medicinal therapy of Chinese origin that belongs to the same group as other therapies such as taichi or reiki and is based on breath control. In fact, the literal tradition would become “the work of the breath” since this therapeutic method has a special impact on the importance of our breathing being conscious and accompanying each of our movements and thoughts.
The good state of health will depend on the ability to achieve the correct balance between the mind and the body, and this well-being is fundamentally achieved through meditation and breath control.
The mind is a great storehouse of information and controls our physical and mental functions. Having mind control means being able to exercise in full control of our own mind, at all times, places and circumstances of life.
The mental attitudes of every human being can be positive or negative, constructive or destructive, etc. So mind control offers us better health, a noticeable improvement in memory and creativity, a reduction in tension, a more positive attitude towards problems, etc.
There are three steps to achieve the necessary mental control to carry out any activity:
- Allow the mind to derive to a state of concentrated consciousness: The mind focuses on a set of stimuli, leaving aside visual and auditory sensations, among others.
- Directing the mind in a specific direction: We direct the mind towards the problem or situation that we want to change.
- Order the mental guidelines in series: Direct the mind through a series of events that will achieve and preserve the goals that have been set.
3. MENTAL VISUALIZATION.
Mental visualization is the formation of the mental image of an abstract concept. It is a technique that, relying on deep relaxation techniques, such as breathing, leads to the focus of the problem, providing imaginative and effective solutions to specific problems.
To practice it we must find a comfortable place, using in some cases external stimuli and with our eyes closed, take regular and slow deep breaths until achieving a state of full relaxation and direct the mind to correct the areas of life that do not work as expected. requires, or advance towards the goal that has been set.
It is a complex exercise since we must visualize the situation in our mind with as many details.
The mind creates realities, we will expel negative thoughts and we will place more emphasis on our qualities. Thus, we will be able to visualize the different situations and conditions of the concert or audition, and, always reinforcing confidence in ourselves and in our potential, to reach the appointed day with confidence and positivity and not with tension, doubts and nervousness.
Relaxation Techniques for stress. (2020): https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/relaxation-techniques-for-stress-relief.htm
Relaxation Techniques. (2020): https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/preventing-falls/fear-and-anxiety-about-falling/relaxation-techniques
González Portillo, T. (2016). La guía del músico profesional. España: Gran Pausa.