By the time you read this you should have read and worked through my first blog about relaxation as a way to improve your playing.
In short we are applying deep breathing techniques such as those found in yoga and meditations to become better guitarists.
Here’s the next step to used deep breathing techniques to relax while you play. You will need a metronome for this one.
a) Start the metronome at a slow pace that you find relaxing, something you could find yourself breathing along with smoothly and rhythmically. I would choose somewhere between quarter notes at 60-80 bpm.
b) Next, inhale for 4 beats and exhale the next 4. Now your breathing is completely rhythmic, dictated by the metronomes pace. If it is uncomfortable, like you feel you’re breathing to fast to relax or too slow like you’re holding your breath adjust the metronome speed accordingly. It may take some experimentation to find the best pace for you. This alone should relax you quite a bit.
c) Play quarter notes along with each beat of the metronome. Remember to keep our breathing rhythmic as you do it. When you master that do 8ths then 16ths. You should be totally relaxed as you do it now. Maybe its a whole new feeling for you.
d) now were going to apply this to a chord change. Pick a simple change. Change chords as you maintain a steady rhythmic breathing. It may be a bit challenging at first.
e) Next we’ll apply it to a scale. Choose a scale you’re good at and play a note with each beat, keeping a steady breathing pattern.
Now you are ready to apply this to your piece of music you have been learning. Turn off the metronome but keep your breathing at the relaxed play it is right now. Begining to play the piece, keeping aware of clear rhythmic breathing throughout, especially during the hardest passages.
When you feel comfortable with this concept go back and play some old pieces that you can really wail on, staying relaxed through breathing.
Soon you will be ready to perform in front of a crown without much nervousness and be able to hit those hard licks and passages with a lot more ease.