A Few Thoughts on Excess Tension in Your Playing

Exploring my own tension habits on the guitar has led me to spend copious hours over the years re-working my technique and movements, and studying with an Alexander Technique teacher (AT is all about breaking habits of tension).  I also notice excess tension in many of my students, and work with them to change the habits that lead to it.

The question comes up quite frequently, and so I decided to weigh in publicly on the issue.

Here is an off-the-cuff video with some of my thoughts around tension, and what to do about it.  While this video deals with tension in general, I will add that developing the right fundamental techniques and movements is also extremely helpful (or at least not harmful!).


Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
Click here for a sample formula.

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