Banjo – Facial Expressions in Performance (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on September 3, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Banjo Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create an extraordinarily accurate and kind banjo performance.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

When are facial expressions an enhancement of your banjo playing, and when are facial expressions a detriment to your performing?

FACIAL EXPRESSIONS IN PLAYING THE BANJO ARE A POSITIVE WHEN THEY’RE SHOWING THE JOY YOU’RE FEELING WHEN YOU PERFORM. THEY’RE A NEGATIVE WHEN THEY’RE REINFORCING YOUR STRUGGLE TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE PERFORMANCE.

The question is, do the facial expressions of intense determination to make it through a piece help? No! You may make it, but it will be at a physical cost. What a banjo player’s face does when it is “helping” you hold it together, is that tense facial expressions of determination are reinforcing tension and poor posture and poor technique throughout the body.

Posture and technique can still be poor even if the banjo player’s technique and posture are inherently good, if the banjo player is tensing to hold the performance together. What this means is you can play from beautiful postural alignment and elegant banjo technique, but the moment you tense your face and whole body, you are compressing all of the joints in your body.

You may look good, but this excessive facial and whole body tension means you AREN’T doing the posture and technique that you appear to be doing.

What role do facial expressions play in compromising your banjo playing? There is a term used in weightlifting. It is called “recruiting”. Recruiting during a lift means you tense up parts of your body unnecessarily for the lift. The most obvious example is scrunching up your face as you lift. It does not help, and it is usually unconscious to the weightlifter.

So, when you “recruit” your face to play the banjo, you are doing way too much unnecessary work to play. Simply, you cannot play the banjo with struggle in your face, without this affecting your technique and posture.

There is another important piece to this. What do you think the audience is thinking and experiencing when they watch you struggle in a performance with your face telegraphing your struggle to the listeners? IT STRESSES OUT THE AUDIENCE! This means the listeners can’t truly enjoy the performance, if it is obvious you’re on the verge of losing it.

Years ago I went to see a very famous classical guitarist in concert. You could tell by his nonstop changing facial expressions (almost facial contortions), he was really afraid as he performed. It was intolerable for me. He was truly a fine performer, so I closed my eyes for the rest of the concert.

When you apply the Alexander Technique principles of good posture and great technique to banjo playing, one of the best gifts you can give to yourself, is to lovingly make your whole body part of your banjo technique.

What does this mean? It means that you don’t unconsciously let any part of your body compromise making the banjo as easy to play as possible. For yourself and the audience, this gift of having a joyous face reinforce beautiful technique and posture and interpretation rather than struggle, is a remarkable thing to offer to everyone listening. So, let your face express your love and contentment with your performance, rather than reinforcing discontent and fear.

ISN’T IT TIME THAT TRYING AND STRUGGLE BE RELEASED FROM YOUR BANJO TECHNIQUE?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 All Rights Reserved