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Playing with Ease: A Healthy Approach to Guitar Technique


The music world is full of musicians who sustain injuries of all sorts, triggered by mis-use, technique adjustments, and instrument changes. What’s more, the guitar is one of the most difficult musical instruments to play well. In this book, David Leisner, renowned classical guitarist, teacher and composer, offers valuable information, insight and advice on how to make playing easier.

Playing with Ease provides a constructive guide to a successful technique, enabling guitarists and other instrumentalists to find the path of least resistance and the ways of playing with the least amount of effort, so that technical security and the most beautiful tone may be accomplished in harmony with the human anatomy. Aspects of Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method and yoga supplement Leisner’s own intuitive ideas for a healthy approach to playing the guitar, which can both prevent and cure injury, as well as make practicing and performing a happier experience. There are two chapters devoted to the specifics of right- and left-hand guitar mechanics, with emphasis on anatomical health. The rest of the book, broader in its scope, may be helpful to both guitarists and other instrumentalists alike. Leisner discusses the principles of alignment and movement of the whole body as it relates to playing, ways of eliminating specific tension spots, a presentation of some ground-breaking ideas about incorporating the larger muscles for playing an instrument, some tips on effective practicing, and a relaxed approach to concert preparation. Playing with Ease posits ways of letting go, on every level, and the somewhat radical proposition that freedom of motion is more important than economy of motion.

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