Lesson: Get Better Faster with Lily Maase, Part 2

If your hands are tired, crampy, sore, or moving too slowly, odds are that they're working too hard!

I'll explain.

When I was fifteen my French teacher unknowingly gave me a lifelong practice “assistant” when she volunteered to give Iyengar-style yoga classes once a week after school.

I was instantly hooked.

In the years since, my practice has allowed me to connect to my hands, shoulders and arms in an organized fashion, and to build the strength and flexibility I need to be able to perform onstage night after night without putting too much strain on my hands, which are on the smaller side, even for a female guitarist.

One of the things I've learned from my own practice as an Iyengar student is that what we THINK we are doing is often quite different from what we are ACTUALLY doing. We think we are standing upright when we are not; we think we are relaxed in places where we hold tension; and sometimes when we think we are moving our shoulders we are actually using our arms, and vice versa.

In Iyengar practice, a simple touch - or “adjustment” – from a teacher often brings the necessary awareness into a muscle that is over-active or under-active. This is something I've been fortunate to work into my own playing and teaching over the years.

In last week's lesson, we looked at some of the basic anatomy of the shoulder, arm and hands, and the role they play in helping to make your technique and practice efficient at any level.

In this week's lesson, we apply the concept of “adjustment” to the guitar, and with remarkable results. Now, we can take a closer look at some tendencies within the hand - the muscles we need in order to play well, and more importantly the muscles that need to learn to let go.

Learn more about Lily Maase at the following links:

Performance – www.lilymaase.com
Production – www.handmaidmusic.org
Composition – www.musicforrobots.org
Guns N’ Roses tribute band – www.rocketqueensnyc.com

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