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String Teacher Workshops

Care for Your Most Important Instrument: Your Body

by Darcy Drexler

Your Body: Your MOST important instrument

Your Body: Your MOST important instrument

Today I would like to take a close look at a very precious instrument- the human body. Dr. Rosalie Pratt, music professor at Brigham Young University writes, “Musicians, like athletes, are susceptible to the hazards of a ‘no pain, no gain’ mindset.  Too many performers abuse their bodies in their quest for musical perfection.  Injuries, such as sore shoulders, aching wrists, and strained fingers, may start as minor annoyances, but can develop into permanent, irreversible damage.  In almost all cases, the culprit is your practicing in a stressful way.  Rehearsing with pain is a sure sign of trouble.  Pay attention to your body.  If you feel pain, stop! If pain persists, see a doctor.”

Tiny muscle can be injured through overuse or misuse.  Experts recommend a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of practice.  If you practice more than 1 hour every day, plan to take several short breaks.  Of course most of our students are young and have very supple and flexible muscles, so we seldom see these kinds of physical problems.  It is vital, however, that all students learn to pace their practicing and play without tension, to prevent the eventual appearance of such problems.  Take care of yourself now, so that you can play your instrument your entire life.

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