Many musicians complain of back and shoulder pain. Regular stretching will ease pain in the shoulder and back, increase flexibility and prevent repetitive strain injury.
The Types, Causes and Prevention of Music-Related Injuries: Musicians are prone to injury from repeating a motion countless times when practicing. A better understanding of music injuries is vital for musicians' health.
- I have gotten too complacent as far as teacher-student communications go. My students, their parents and I have an established rapport. I'm starting virtually from scratch with my brother's students. Sure, we've chatted at recitals, but a five-minute chat and teaching in 90-minute stretches are two totally different things.
- It is important to over-plan and have several back-up activities up your sleeve. My pacing for one of the group classes was perfect. One was all right but could use a few more activities, while the other - well we raced through my lesson plan and I wound up flying by the seat of my pants for a very long time. I have Divine inspiration to thank for the "Let's Make Up a Story with Sound" exercise that I did with yesterday's students when improvising.
- When teaching at another studio, have a studio contact list on hand in case you need to contact a parent in the case of an emergency or behavioural issue.
Overall, it was a positive experience. I've learned which students I need to be firm with and which ones I can recruit to take more of a mentoring role with the junior students.
I enjoyed teaching four lovely girls basic conducting gestures and beat patterns. They giggled a lot and had a great rapport with each other.
The "Get into The Groove" class challenged me the most. I will need to plan more rhythm exercises, especially ones where they split off into smaller groups. As for the stubborn ones - let's just say that I'm just as good, if not better at digging in my heels. "The Art of Practicing" also wound up being a great group of music students who were very engaged. In discussing how to practice music, we discussed stretching as well as their learning styles and practicing challenges (e.g. "When I Don't Feel Like Practicing"). The conversation also lead to areas I had not thought of incorporating into my presentation - and they should be. Thanks to them, talking about how to practice when injured and speed learning will be incorporated into my presentation. I look forward to the next round of music group classes.
Musician injuries - we've all had them but we rarely address them until they become debilitating. I'm writing a series on understanding musician injuries and injury prevention for Suite101.com, a comprehensive online magazine to address this important issue. The first two articles are up:
(c) 2009 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.
Yes, it’s true, even musicians are afflicted by injuries. Several classmates from university and I have suffered from repetitive strain injuries (RSI) off an on for over 10 years. Once you get RSI, it’s virtually impossible to cure completely. Sometimes, it's piano related. Other times, it's computer related.
The problems stem from poor technique, poor posture and repetitive motions. Chiropractors and physiotherapists told me that strengthening the muscles around the damaged tendons through exercise is the best way to combat the recurrence of RSI.
Calgary-based teacher, clinician, adjudicator and composer Dr. Peter Jancewicz has written several articles on the topic, having suffered from RSI. Practicing the Alexander Technique has done wonders for him.
At the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (CFMTA-FCAPM) conference held in Calgary July 2005, there was a session on the Feldenkrais method, which also is helpful for musicians with RSI.
Other musicians use sports and/or martial arts to strengthen their muscles. Doctors often recommend swimming and strength training. Yoga and martial arts are good activities as they not only keep musicians physically fit, but help with calming the nerves, settling the mind and focusing. That was part of my motivation for studying Iaido.
Whatever method you choose, it is best to do research first and consult with your doctor before taking on a new physical activity.
© 2006, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.