...Remembering to keep your body, hands and fingers (and LH thumb) RELAXED, especially when your brain is struggling to decypher a difficult passage, is probably the hardest task.
- This is so true, and it is something I constantly struggle with. It is so easy to loose sight of the fact that there is a direct correlation between your level of concentration (which increases with a new or unfamiliar pieces) and your grim determination to carry on until it is correct, regardless of the pain.
When a piece is memorised it tends to be more natural to me and my touch lightens considerably... as does the stress on my wrists.
...playing is a sequence of pressure and RELEASE of pressure. We think of LIFTING fingers as part of the effort, but if you try to lift without consciously releasing the tension first, you are making the task twice as difficult as it needs to be...
- I have never thought of playing like this, but of course it is absolubtely spot on - this has actually changed my perception slightly, thankyou Azalais.
Anyway my advice, Warm up thouroughly with some good exercises, take frequent breaks and try to be mindful of the first point above at all times...
For me personally, this is what causes me to slip and tire myself, physically when playing.