natenajar wrote:Slow down until you are relaxed. Then gradually increase the tempo
I have to second this notion. When I would tell my students to "slow down", they could never quite comprehend the maniacal degree to which I meant slow down.
I'm curious to know what kind of routine you have as far as exercises go, how often you warm up, and how long you spend doing these kinds of movements on the guitar. I recommend doing what I call "long tone" warm ups. Horn players do these kinds of exercises to increase their power, control, stamina, and improve their tone, however there are many added benefits to this kind of practicing that are often not recognized by teachers and students. Specifically for the guitar, I define long tone practicing as any exercise or movement where:
1. The tonal attack is a gradual squeeze in the right hand where you give up control over the release of the string. In other words you squeeze the string in such a way that you don't know when it's going to release. This can be done both with rest strokes and free strokes.
2. Then you listen to the tone that you produced and simply just be aware of the tension in your body and your breathing patterns without consciously trying to change anything, and just listen.
3. You don't consciously move any muscle in your body until the note has completely decayed.
4. Then you procede to prepare (plant) your finger for the next stroke.
Step 4 will blend into step 1 and it is essentially a cycle. If you do this properly, say with just a p,i,m,a,m,i pattern in the right hand, it should take you approximately 5 minutes to get through one cycle. This is absolutely agonizing to most people who are not used to it, and that's why so few people do it. However, if you start to work this into your sessions for approximately 30 minutes a day, everyday, you will reap tremendous benefits from it. It is very much like meditating, and what you will find is that your body becomes incredibly efficient and many technical problems/tension/etc work themselves out without you consciously "doing" anything.
This principal can also be applied to sight reading ANY score.
The more practiced you get at this exercise, the quicker you will be able to get to the "zen place".
So it may be excruciatingly frustrating at first, but as you get better at it you won't need as much.
There are numerous good strategies out there for resolving tension, and I have spent a great deal of energy researching and practicing different techniques with clients over the years, including people dealing with debilitating injuries, focal dystonia, and other "neurological" dysfunctions, but in my experience this is the most powerful "self-help" tool that one can implement to become a more effortless performer and resolve all structural problems. The only problem with it is that most people don't have the patience.
Whatever you end up doing, keep us posted on your progress. And also let me know if you'd like me to clarify anything.