Hello. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you sign up to get my Ultimate Practice Guide. It’s free when you join my practice tips newsletter by entering your name and email address below. The first email will tell you how to download your Practice Guide. We don’t spam or sell email addresses, ever. And you can easily unsubscribe at any time.
If you think it would be hard to play with one of these on your left hand, keep reading!
Playing violin should be a joy and not cause pain. Sometimes pain can be a result of improper posture and form, but sometimes it can result from playing frequently for long intervals. Here are some tips to keep you pain-free.
- Stretching is essential
Most people know to stretch when exercising, running, etc. Think of playing the violin as a type of exercise. After warming up on your instrument for a few minutes, take a few minutes to stretch. This will help your muscles to limber up and they will be less prone to injury. Follow this link to Red Desert Violin’s YouTube channel that demonstrates many useful stretches for violinists. There is also a helpful video on good violin posture. Also, below, are some additional stretches for the neck muscles. (You can also do some exercises specifically for warmups. Watch the video.)
- Massage when needed
When your muscles have become overworked, they can develop microscopic knots called trigger points. These cause muscle pain and can refer pain to different areas of the body. Sometimes these “knots” can also trap nerves and blood vessels which can cause shooting pain or swelling. It can also restrict movement. For instance, a trigger point in the scalene neck muscle can cause pain down the arm and cause swelling in the hand. Often times, the pain will go away for a while, only to start again once the activity that caused it is resumed. In order for these to truly go away, they MUST be massaged out. This can be done by a massage therapist, or can be done by yourself using techniques described in the “Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” by Clair Davies.
- Rest as needed
I’m sure we all have moments when we keep playing past fatigue. It is in our nature if we love this instrument. If you pay attention to your body, it will “tell” you when you need to rest. I recommend taking its advice! Even if you take only a short break, you will be helping prevent the development of trigger points. This will actually extend the amount of time you can play.
These things might seem simple to you. If they are, I hope you’re doing them. Violinists can injure themselves if they are not careful. These tips will help you stay healthy and stay playing.