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How to Identify Between Tiredness and Injury


tchaikovsgay
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Hi. I try to follow a strict 3-hours practice routine (with 10 mins break every hour) and seldom slack. But I was injured previously and didn't even notice when I injured myself. I don't get it? If I stop, then I'm slacking? But if I don't stop, then I might get injured, which requires more rest / limited playing??? How do you guys know when to stop?

 

Thank you

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I might be exaggerating but I think basically that if you are "pushing" or "forcing" to make things happen then you are working toward an injury.  Violinists and violas have to be very careful because the twisting of the left arm to hold the instrument makes it easy to introduce tension.  A book that might help you if you are a violinist or violist is What Every Violinist Needs to Know About the Body by Jennifer Johnson.  Another useful book regarding injury is Playing (Less) Hurt by Janet Horvath.

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I think a lot of it comes down to maintaining good posture and structuring the practicing thoughtfully.

The longer the practice session, the more crucial it is that you maintain good posture throughout. It’s easy to start slumping or making compromises, which only leads to bad habits or injury. It’s also vital to avoid a violin setup that strains the neck or shoulder (e.g. unnecessarily tall shoulder rests or chin rests or too much padding beneath the instrument). If you’re a viola player, don’t play an instrument that’s too big—this is the biggest problem I see with violists in orchestras in my area.  If your technique is good and consistent, you should be able to practice indefinitely.

The other key to avoiding injury is thoughtfully planned sessions. To avoid strain and stress, start out with a good warmup and work up to the more technical passages. This might be an extreme, but Heifetz recommended spending half of all practice time on scales.

If you feel pain, stop and evaluate. Don’t force the practice and make the pain or injury worse. 

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Keep practicing but don't do something that makes the "injury" worse.  If something happened to your hand from making stretches, stop doing stretches until the pain is gone.

Or put the instrument down and think about alternate phrasing or what your problems are an how to address them.  Or you could work on bowing exercises that don't require much from the left hand.  You might do that for a couple days or longer.

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It is an unfortunate fact that many instrumental teachers don't really know how to keep their pupils from becoming injured.  Teachers might not realize that the way they themselves play doesn't work for a particular student.  The teacher might insist that the student stretch rather than shift, say, because that's how the teacher does it.  Studying Alexander Technique as explained in the book I recommended in an earlier post can greatly help players from becoming injured.  "Good posture" is not well understood.   For example, standing with the back "ram rod" straight and immobile, as soldiers do, is bad posture.  The spine has a natural curve and it is best to allow the spine to rest in its natural shape.  Holding the head and neck properly can benefit the musician's entire body.  Conservatories, such as Juilliard,  have courses in Alexander Technique.  psychology plays a role, too.  Noa Kageyama at Juilliard is worth a look, too: https://bulletproofmusician.com/

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks, everyone! I'm recovering rapidly as I found a good Chinese doctor. He identified the precise location of my arm injuries and used some Chinese massage and herbal dressing to speed up my recovery. Currently, he limits my practice time per day up to 2 hours (with a long break each hour), and I practice in front of a big mirror to check and maintain a healthy posture. Of course, I want to practice 5 hours per day (ideally) but I guess we have to trust and follow doctor's orders!

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2 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

... Currently, he limits my practice time per day up to 2 hours (with a long break each hour)...Of course, I want to practice 5 hours per day (ideally)...

Why?

What are your goals?

Are you a violin student? Are you wanting to be a professional? Where are you at now?

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12 hours ago, Rue said:

High school? University? Older adult?

Goal?

I think of myself as a violin student too - but obviously we are different people with different end goals.

I started to love playing the violin after I discovered Hilary Hahn, and wanted to become a pedagogue after I watched more and more videos of Kurt Sassmanshaus

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4 hours ago, tchaikovsgay said:

I want to become a pedagogue

In that case I suggest refraining from asking in a public forum which hand you should use for certain private matters, and also from sending unsolicited personal hate-messages to other forum members. Some of the trademarks of a good pedagogue are people skills, patience and self control.

Screenshot 2019-01-14 11.02.14.png

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53 minutes ago, Stavanger said:

In that case I suggest refraining from asking in a public forum which hand you should use for certain private matters, and also from sending unsolicited personal hate-messages to other forum members. Some of the trademarks of a good pedagogue are people skills, patience and self control.

Screenshot 2019-01-14 11.02.14.png

Well I was asking a SERIOUS question, people were not open-minded enough to answer politely, fine, I understand not everyone are comfortable to talk about it. And I realize it might not be the best forum to ask this question, so I didn’t object my post from being deleted.

 

But, you say I’m a troll? And you have to block me just because you are so close-minded to include sexual behaviors as part of your life (my question was TOTALLY related to my practicing, you have no idea how painful it is not to practice for almost a month). This was absolute a personal attack. Back off.

E3114C27-7E5D-44CC-8106-1B61C5052C0C.png

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I found it an odd word choice too, when I first heard it - because it does have a mild, negative connotation.

But it seems to be part of the music world's jargon, so I just go with it.

However - a violin pedagogue seems to refer more to someone who has developed a teaching method versus "just" teaching. Others may debate that interpretation.

So Auer, Suzuki, etc. are pedagogues.

If I teach, I consider myself "just" a teacher, or instructor - since I don't follow a defined "method" per se.

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On 1/13/2019 at 2:38 PM, tchaikovsgay said:

Thanks, everyone! I'm recovering rapidly as I found a good Chinese doctor. He identified the precise location of my arm injuries and used some Chinese massage and herbal dressing to speed up my recovery. Currently, he limits my practice time per day up to 2 hours (with a long break each hour), and I practice in front of a big mirror to check and maintain a healthy posture. Of course, I want to practice 5 hours per day (ideally) but I guess we have to trust and follow doctor's orders!

That sounds fine !

May be it would be a good idea to do even more ( short) breaks, e.g. yet after 10 minutes of playing some seconds, some stretchings ( which you checked out as helpful ) and then going on - at least so long as you didn´t completely recover. 5 hours of practising every day i.m.o. is not ideal - it is too much. However it could be a good idea always to play so often as possible with maximal physical relaxation. Healthy posture is fine, but not always the same, little changes are very healthy. In spite of it naturally do not play boring - emontional tension is allowed and wanted.  

Surely it is a very good idea to read such books like these, recommended by Gowan. I agree, that teachers sadly often don´t give good advices or help against possible injuries ( mostly they are focused too much on music ). So one needs to get helpful infos from otherwhere. But also don´t believe all, what is written in books - develop the sense for what is fine and works for you.

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