Saturday, January 8

Bach and Blue: greatness can be painful!

In another post, I was asked why I left music instead of taking up the baroque oboe. One (out of many) is that I got tendonitis and other injuries. With my current experience, I really urge you all to understand that these injuries are preventable and they can get far worse if left unchecked.

Firstly, realize that where you feel the pain is probably not where the problem is.

Case in point: I was just now practicing Bach’s concerto for oboe d’amore, At the end of bar 64 in the 1st mvt., there is a rather easy turn (on modern instruments, piece of cake!) but I keep missing it. After “woodshedding” it, I developed real strain and pain in my right elbow. I let it rest and when I tried again, I realized my neck was very tense and a nerve was pinched.


A good physiotherapist does the trick to recover, but I’m angry to realize that all this could have been prevented from my earliest days as a student.

Although we are artists, our performance depends on our animal body doing its job. Spending time on the computer is the WORST thing we can do…. oh joy for a software engineer! Our bodies need to move (large moves) and keep strong. Mostly, the back and neck require certain postures that are completely contrary to sitting with an instrument and playing.

I don’t care if you are in to sports, hip-hop dancing or yoga and meditation: please honour my pain by preventing this from ever happening to yourselves!

I wish you all a balanced sporty artistic life!

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