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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.
I need a warm up exercises, and gymnastics for left hand and fingers,
And I want to know how to improve speed and flexibility playing violin,and how to hold fingers near fingerboard for higher speed,
I have done a series of newsletters, and one of them is dedicated to gymnastics for your left hand, specifically building speed, dexterity, and left/right hand coordination. You can read the post here:
And that will give you a GREAT start.
Also, make sure to check out my YouTube video about Speed and Dexterity.
You can download the free sheet music, and you WILL get results. Most people are amazed! Good luck! —Lora
Thank you Lora for your warmup and strech videos! Very well done videos.
Thanks, Gun! Now if we would all just follow my advice! (myself included!!!)
Well, it only took once NOT following your advice to learn a lesson. Thankfully nothing serious, but enough to make me take serious attention. I ALWAYS warmup now no matter what. If I don’t have time to warm up at least for a few minutes I figure I don’t have time to play at all. 🙂
If it only took you ONCE to learn your lesson….then you are doing better than I am! (I STILL try to cheat my warm-ups….and I STILL pay the price at times!) You are right…..if we don’t have 2 minutes to warm-up….then something is wrong! I’m going to practice what I preach!
Listen to this advice BEFORE you get an injury ! I developed tendinitis in my left elbow by overdoing on this instrument. It’s been a literal PAIN and hinders my playing. It’s better than it was….took months of physical therapy…but it’s still there. I have a 3 week vacation coming up in June/July…..I’m NOT bringing the violin…but will be bringing the weights, heating pad and doing my therapy! Perhaps when I get back it’ll be….gone ? (dare I hope !)
I have been trying to figure out what the Alexander Technique is and how to use it. I’m supposed to be going to a physical therapist and massage therapist due to pain that I’m having while playing. Can’t wait to see your interview with Larry.
YES! My new computer arrives today, and I will be doing an introductory interview with Larry, the Alexander Technique specialist THIS WEEK! I hope it can help us all!
Regarding “knots” that just won’t go away….
Just like weight lifting at the gym – there is “good” hurt and “bad” hurt. I like the feeling of working my muscles and having them be sore. HOWEVER – if I’m sore and it doesn’t clear up in a coupla days – or – weeks… then I know it’s time to go to the chiropractor! An adjustment and the sorness magically goes away.
When picking a chiro – be wary. If they say you need to come weekly for 6 months – walk out of their office. A good chiro can clean you up in 1 – 3 visits.
I agree. A true healer doesn’t have to “recycle” the same patients over and over just to get more money.
Just WAIT until you see my interview with Charles “Larry” Johnston…..a specialist in the Alexander Technique!!!