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Just don't try

June 10, 2010 at 11:03 AM

"Dimitri your trying too hard"


I had an interesting lesson tonight.

"Focus on your left toe"


I played the exerpt I was given

"Wow what an improvement, how did it feel?"

"I don't know I wasn't paying attention"

"Good! Now focus on playing the violin"

...and as I played, I even cringed...

"Dimitri that sounds really laboured ... Ok focus on your back this time"

and I played ... slowly catching on with what he was aiming at

"Hmm sounds good again. Ok focus back on your left hand again"

...and I did ... for some reason I tensed up, or rather I wasn't in the relaxed state as I was when I wasn't focused on the violin.

"Again that sounds laboured."

"Dimitri you play better when your not trying to play at all. You have the technique, you have the intonation, you learnt the timing but you keep trying too hard - you just have to let go"

~ This brings me back to the concept he taught me when playing the arpeggios; to let go, relax and just play.

Again, the same thing was happening - I was focused too much on playing and it ended up messing with my vibrato; but for some reason everything fixed up when I wasn't paying attention.

He said this has to do with relaxing, your letting your muscle memory take over - I have it in my body, its just I'm accessing it wrong.


I thought it was pretty interesting and worth sharing.

Just don't try, let your body do it naturally.

Of course, thats to say you have to practice mindfully and focused, just when your peforming it is a good idea to focus on something else and let the body take over.

From Roy Sonne
Posted on June 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

If you try hard enough anything is impossible :-)

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on June 10, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Very true!


From Tara S.
Posted on June 10, 2010 at 5:53 PM

So true. I've noticed when I'm just "playing around" during a practice session I play MUCH better than when I'm *trying* to play perfectly for my teacher (or anyone else). A very difficult thing to do, just letting go.

From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on June 10, 2010 at 6:19 PM

I tense up when I'm at my lessons.  I have my own personal mantra.  "Don't mess up.....don't mess up........don't mess up........." and you know eventually, I do.

-----------Ann Marie

From Bart Meijer
Posted on June 11, 2010 at 9:52 PM

Hi Dimitri,

That's one of the points Barry Green makes in his book  The Inner Game of Music. So true!


From Dimitri Adamou
Posted on June 12, 2010 at 2:00 AM

I'll be sure to give that book a read!

Though I suppose moderation in both focusing on the object/not-focusing has to be exercised ... you don't want to look like your not even interested!

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