Playing without tension lecture / workshop

lecture-workshopThis ‘Playing without tension’ lecture / workshop is designed to help performance music students become aware of, and resolve tensions while playing. It is also weighted towards the prevention and resolution of Musician’s Focal Dystonia.


  • To prevent excess tension in playing
  • To increase efficiency of practise
  • To demonstrate tools for solving tension issues
  • To discuss the mind, body and emotions and how they relate to tension in musicians


  • Introduction – how to get the most out of this workshop: active vs. passive participation
  • Introduction – my story through musician’s focal dystonia
  • Dealing with external stressors
  • Efficiency: Body mechanics
  • Efficiency: Mental direction
  • Efficiency: Emotions
  • The ‘world famous’ bottle exercise
  • More effort or more efficiency?
  • Breathing exercise – open feeling
  • What is a practise session?
  • Constructive vs. destructive practise
  • Empowering vs. disempowering questions
  • Simple stretch exercises
  • The instrument equation
  • Neuro-associative conditioning
  • 10 good things…
  • Recipe for tension / recipe for free playing
  • Tension cues
  • Breaking tension patterns
  • Visualization
  • Conclusion – recommended resources


  • Lecture theatre/conference room/concert hall
  • Projector capable of being connected to a PC
  • Projector screen
  • Microphone/PA system for larger halls/audiences

Workshop duration

  • 2 hours

A review for this workshop
“Your workshop on playing without tension is one of the most important masterclasses to which our students have ever been exposed. The release of excess tension (and its causes) and the resultant increase in efficiency in one’s playing can be one of the most effective tools of a student’s development. The clarity of your message and its immediate positive result is astounding. I would not have expected that one session with you could make such a profound impact on students’ posture, breathing and overall body, mind and emotional awareness. Students are still referring to your session as they face daily instrumental problem solving. And as a dystonia sufferer, I can attest to the validity of the need to recognize and develop a consistent strategy to alleviate tension in one’s playing at the earliest possible age.

You are, in my opinion, providing one of the most important messages for today’s performers – one that explains in a clear, concise, definitive and comprehensive manner, a solution to the prevention of, and recovery from, one of the most debilitating conditions in todays performance world, that of task specific focal dystonia.”

– Jerry Peel, Horn Professor, Assistant Chair of Brass Studies, Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts

For more information, please contact me here.