Relaxing can be a surprisingly hard thing to do at times. Seems silly doesn’t it? But playing and the movements associated with it should not feel like hard work or an effort. If you’re trying hard then you’re trying too hard!!Tensions can creep in, often without us realising it at first. Straining to reach a difficult chord or stretch before you’ve properly worked it in and playing too fast before you’re ready (often one of the biggest culprits) can lead to a build of tension in the body. Tension, soreness and fatigue can then result in the lower back, shoulders, neck, arm, hands and fingers. This is a big no-no. There should never be pain when playing – please stop and reassess what you’re doing if there is pain!! By not addressing these issues when they first arise, a guitarist can be storing up more serious physical problems later down the line – not good! Be aware of your movements and tensions in the body. Do a bit of a check next time you play – how are you sitting? Are there any tensions in your back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands or fingers? If so, are you able to let go of that tension and continue to play? Just being aware of tensions and your playing position can lead to a positive change for the body. Going with the flow and learning to work with your body (leveraging off of bigger muscle groups and body weight) will tend to have a positive impact on your body (it won’t bloomin’ ache so much) and your playing, enabling you to create greater quality of tone and expression – which is pretty much what we’re aiming to achieve!