Thich Nhat Hanh on a Useful Guitar Practice Tool – Smiling
You and I may hear all the time about how important it is to smile.
But is this just positive thinking? Is it new-agey Pollyanna mumbo-jumbo?
Not necessarily. There are also pragmatic reasons to smile – health, mood, appearance.
One reason that matters in guitar practice is muscle tone. When we smile, we relax.
When we concentrate, we often create excess tension in our faces. This tension spreads throughout our bodies, and into our hands. The result is that everything we do is harder than it has to be.
When we smile, even a little, we release some of that tension. We allow practice to be less serious, and more easeful.
When we struggle through tricky spots, the struggle adds to the trickiness. When we take a deep breath and smile through the tricky spots, we add ease to them. We dispel fear and train ourselves to relax.
A smile can be a strategic tool. It can become a practice method to solve problems, develop useful muscle-memory, and reduce the chance of pain or injury. All these are a part of playing beautifully.
And it feels good!
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
Thich Nhat Hanh