Rest != Rust: taking a break is as important as practicing when you play guitar or other instrument!
I’m going to practice guitar for 10 minutes, or drumming, or keyboard, or bass. First, a few warm-up exercises. Maybe repeat some scales soon. Then I start studying a new song. Maybe start this other song as well? Hmmmm the temptation is great. Trying new setting with my FX module and pedals. Gosh, blissful sound. A bit of jamming, improvising, enjoying, getting lost and whirling around in musical chemistry. Everything gets blurry. In a sleep-drunk, blissful daze, I suddenly wake up. I look at the clock and wonder what’s wrong with the universe. How come 4 hours have passed in 10 minutes? Sound familiar? I speak from experience: once you start playing music, you lose track of time … it works like a drug. But still, keep an eye on the time!
Playing an instrument is physically taxing on your body. Muscles and joints suffer from repetitive and short movements. Playing music is often considered top sport, when it comes to the physical load. Football, tennis, cycling, … Many top athletes have had their best years before the age of 40. And for good reason. Professional musicians have also had their physical best years after an average of roughly 30 years of playing. One will of course never experience health problems, the other will get it faster. That is why I think it is very important for aspiring musicians to point out a correct posture and to take care of the body.
Not to be underestimated and extremely important: give your head a rest in time! Ever noticed that you’re practicing, and the longer you practice the worse it gets? Mental overload … Your brain also needs a break on time and standing. So when you take a break, do something other than engage with music. Sometimes it’s even better to stop exercising for that day when it’s really not going smoothly anymore. The next day, when you have slept, you will notice that the weather is progressing much better.
Your hearing gets tired too! This is especially noticeable when you work with certain effects, such as chorus, reverb, etc, where the hearing starts to get used and the “effect” of the effects disappears. Playing permanently at the same sound level, even if the volume is low, is also very tiring. When you take a break, give your ears plenty of rest as well. Don’t play music, or start talking on the phone or the like during your break. Preferably you listen to completely different sounds and possibly sit in a different room or environment. For example, when I work in the studio and am busy mixing or the like, I regularly go outside in the garden to give my hearing a rest and get used to natural ambient sounds.
Set that alarm clock!
Get plenty of rest regularly! Never practice for more than an hour without a break. The rule for me is: an hour of training = 50 minutes of practice + 10 minutes of pause – get up, move, eat/drink something, or do stretching exercises. Do you experience pain while playing a musical instrument? Headache, neck pain, elbows, shoulders, back pain, knees? A dull or tingling sensation? Then stop practicing and consult a specialist. Never bite through the pain. For that I would like to refer you to my blog article: No pain no gain? Idiots only!
Also during performances: take a “break”!
Performing for two hours is an attack on your body. Of course, one cannot just take a literal break and interrupt the show, but set up the playlist in such a way that you create rest breaks for each musician, guitar, drum, vocals, bass etc : Play less stressful songs in between with more open strings for the guitarist, possibly a song where you do not play or play less, a slower song, use a capo to avoid harsh chords, etc. Play an instrumental song to give the vocalist a break. Play an acoustic song without a drum, then the drummer can also wipe his sweat. Also a tip against fatigue among guitarists – during performances I avoid harsh chords as much as possible and replace them as much as possible with the typical Jimi Hendrix fingering. Sounds the same and is less stressful for the joints!