I’ve suffered from playing problems since I was a teenager. I tend to overdo things, and I tend to practice until I can’t anymore. I don’t do things halfway, and violin is no different. But…I am incredibly prone to injury. Sometimes I deal with it. Sometimes I take time off. About a year ago I think I gave up.
I’m not ready to give up for good though. I needed my year without really practicing (to MISS it) but at Suzuki Institute I started thinking about it again, and how I love playing, and I want to play for a long time, and I need to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Other than playing out of tune 😉
This morning I woke up with severe shoulder pain. Hmm. First problem: don’t go from NOT practicing to practicing 2 or 3 hours a day for a couple days in a row. It seems I am truly an idiot.
Maybe it was from the gym. Maybe not. Who knows.
What I do know is that I’m ready to do something about it. Mike stretched my shoulder at the beginning and end of the workout. He gave me some advice on stretches to do at home (which I actually have done several times today, so this is so far promising.) I want to get more advice from him, since a) I actually do listen to him and take his advice which I am really bad at doing from doctors/physical therapists in the past and b) I’m paying him for something anyway. He thinks for sure I need to strengthen the muscles opposite my shoulder, that the problem is my shoulder is weak.
My thinking is that overall I’m not using my back/arms/shoulders properly. I might be all out of whack. My teachers in the past have never really helped me with this, for whatever reason. I’m not blaming anyone here, just myself. I also know I have awful tension issues.
I’ve improved my health immensely over the past two years. I’ve improved my mental health too. My confidence is through the roof. I’ve worked hard on becoming a better violin teacher.
But I need to play well, and I want to attempt to play without pain. I have never REALLY worked on this. I’ve always just skated from one injury to the next and relied on high pain tolerance and talent to make it through. But there are things I want here, and I need to be injury free to practice. I am tired of making excuses. I don’t let myself have excuses at the gym—I sure as hell shouldn’t allow excuses in violin.
I’ve got a couple days of traveling ahead, but when I return I am going to do this properly. I want to figure out what in my posture is screwing me up and go from there.
How many of you suffer from playing problems or other overuse issues? Any good advice for me?