Why is Technique so important?
“Why can’t I just play my instrument?” is a question that you probably have asked yourself during a particularly frustrating lesson. It’s understandable that frequently learning your instrument can feel like it takes over you life. However, having/using proper technique can make certain that you will not only attain to a higher level of performance quicker, but also, learning fundamental instrumental mechanics can ensure the longevity of your playing career. Although one can, in fact, play an instrument with improper technique (many in fact do), playing and performing with bad technique and posture can be detrimental to your health. How can bad technique be so harmful?
In many instances, the use of improper technique can produce not only physical harm but can also produce an inferior product. Here are some specifics. For example, for string players, tense shoulders and arms can, over time, wear away ligaments and tendons in the joints of the wrist and shoulders causing possibly irreversible damage. For piano students, don’t neglect your wrist and finger shape. Doing so can put one at risk for ailments like carpal tunnel and bursitis. Same can be said of guitarists. For vocalists, unsupported airflow and over-singing can cause inferior tone and will eventually lead to damage of one’s physical formants. What is the best way to maintain safe and proper technique?
Of course, every instrument has its quirks and idiosyncrasies but following the sound advice of your teacher can be an invaluable resource. One specific aid to building and maintaining proper technique is the establishment of a warm-up routine. If you have a standard warm-up that you can adjust to the specific repertoire you are focusing on, it can give you a sound technical basis on which to place your musical discoveries, experimentation, and improvements. For guidance on how to prepare and maintain a practice routine, be sure to ask your teacher or other experienced musicians for advice.
In conclusion, maintaining technical integrity can prove to be a springboard from which much of your quickest progress can stem. Technique, instead of hemming in creativity, preserves and engenders growth and progress for the diligent adherent. Consistency is key. So, practice in front of a mirror, breath deeply, stretch, do anything you need to make your technique as stable and consistent as it can be, and you will have many hours of productive practice and stellar performances.
A.A.T., Violin Instructor