Learn a Musical Instrument from Scratch, Part 3

Check out this Chinese proverb:

I really like it a lot.

But sometimes it's hard to figure out exactly how to act on a proverb, even if I think I agree with it.

In today's video I take about 10 minutes to get very specific about what relaxation means to me and how it can help you a ton in your music life.

Here are your new homework items:

Homework Item #1: Watch the video you chose of your inspiration performer with the SOUNDS OFF.

Homework Item #2: Pay attention to yourself over the weekend and try to spot ONE THING you’re doing with extraneous tension aka a little too much effort.

Please share in the comments section below!

11 thoughts on “Learn a Musical Instrument from Scratch, Part 3

  1. I completely agree on importance of relaxation. Sound is so subtle thing that smallest body movements can change it significantly. For wind instruments, extra tension creates turbulence and worsens the sound.

  2. My top instrument I’d like to explore more in 2017 is violin. I also want to spend more time with my accordion. My church music ministry allows (forces) me lots of time with guitar.

    The top three pieces or musical vibes I’d like to master are: for violin Beethoven 9th symphony second movement (second violin maybe by 2027) or the David Garnett version Scherzo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq5HFveHhMM
    for accordion William Tell Overture,
    for guitar Dust in the Wind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fUVobH5Bw0

    I want to play all these instruments because I can and it’s fun. More important music gives me a certain peace and escape from the daily stress of work and life in general. It is my time and my choice to share my gift with others.

  3. The video is a lot of fun! This year I embarked on a project, designing whimsical greetings cards with music practice tips on the back. And now I am working on “Voice tips”. ( I will add 4 to my web site this weekend). You hit it on the nose – a serious problem I have myself as a flautist! Relax! I have this on the backs of several of my cards incorporated with other tips, but not on a card on it’s own – I need to put this on my list to paint. Check some of the cards out at: http://www.violettesbybecky.com/other-music-gifts/note-cards-gifts-for-music-lovers.html
    PS: I live in TN and I love Kale! (Though I did grow up in CA – LOL)

  4. It’s interesting to say. Sitting down watching tv and letting the tv numb your mind really isn’t relaxing for playing musical instruments. The home work this week really made me stop and realize I’ve not really relaxed at all. Having my mind go numb doesn’t really relax you to where you need to be to play your instrument. I’ve kinda slacked off from playing my hand drums over the years blaming real life for it. In honest terms I just became lazy and negative instead of feeling the vibe of the rhythm which used to relax me while playing. Jenny here has inspired me to go after that childhood dream. I honestly wouldn’t of bothered with sites like this but something in her playing style has captured that inner child I’ve forgotten about. I so love to watch how her playing style sucks her into the music. It’s a blessing to watch and to allow my thoughts wander. In my career tension doesnt really go away and can be very tiring at best of times. Its one profession not everyone could do. The stress alone probably kill some people. And the tension on a daily basis just adds to make it more intense. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to become a truck driver. The lifestyle isn’t nice to those with families and most often or not you never see your loved ones. Maybe perhaps a day or two once a couple of weeks. So to your question #2. My job is a huge tension for me with lots of added stress from all you little car driver’s. Just remember us guys/gals in tractor trailers are usually pulling loads that are just as heavy as a diesel locomotive on the roads

    Sorry if this is long. I write usually to this blog while I’m at work waiting between loads.
    I do wish i could find that relaxed state of mind again like Jenny gets in her music. To allow the music to sweep you off your feet and mind is off into a fantasy part of thinking is far more relaxing to me then watching a movie on tv

    P.S. love the inspiration you give Jenny. It’s so soothing to see and be part of it in some form or another. Thank you for inspiring and realizing what I’ve been missing. Keep up the good work

    Chris B.

    • Good one! I swear if you can loosen up on something as routine as brushing your teeth, it will change your life! 😉 I’m gonna have to check for tension when I brush my teeth now…

  5. Hi Jenny! Thank you for all of your wonderful advice, you are an inspiration!

    I have noticed in my practice that I have a tendency to put too much pressure on the strings/fingerboard when I play. My bowing arm is relaxed, but it just seems that when I first started learning violin, I thought I had to put much more pressure on the strings with my left hand than needed. This is something I have been struggling with for a while and I continue to try to improve.


  6. One of my (2….only two because I want to make sure I accomplish my New Year’s Resolutions!) New Year’s Resolutions is to Learn to Fiddle aka violin! This is how I stumbled across your blog. I love that you have created this series!
    My musical influences are Lindsey Stirling, Tim O’brien, and of course, you! I have begun taking steps towards my goal of learning bluegrass fiddle music….I’ve ventured out to various Bluegrass Jams. I have also created a chart in my planner for me to write down everytime I practice. I have begun taking online fiddle lessons and am exploring this as a possible avenue for having a mentor. There are very few fiddle players where I live. The few that I met are snowbirds (I live in Florida). I need consistency. I love that you have a blog and I can read others responses. This weekend I thought about where I am the most tense. I think I am the most tense when focusing on things that I have to do…or rather things that I think I should be doing. I had some of my girlfriends over this weekend and I opened up to them about some areas in my life where I feel tension. They really encouraged me not to feel tension in these areas and that I am overthinking them. I am hoping that violin/fiddle can become my happy place. While practicing today, I thought about what you explained in your video discussing the importance of being loose and relieving tension while playing. I tried it out, and it really helped. My sound improved and I was able to maintain a relaxed manner for the duration of my practice session. I am going to continue this week thinking about where I am tense and trying to practice the art of relaxation 🙂

    • I’m happy to hear this is starting conversations, and I’m so glad you experienced immediate results! Thanks for sharing with us.

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