Wednesday, January 26

Bug away and bug again!

What follows is crucial to musicians, don’t compromise your ability to perform with ease.

I think its a fear factor that makes musicians sulk away from these discussions, so I’ll try to keep it short. Fear not and don’t shrink away in denial: the quicker you act the easier it is to fix! Chances are, you don’t need to spend any money either.

If your country/province/state does not pay for simple doctor consultations, then consider medical insurance as the single most important investment in your musical career! Whatever you do, if you have any trouble performing a piece of music that normally works well for you, go see if there might be something physical like a pinched nerve or something.

For the past 10 odd years, doctors galore have been telling me there is nothing wrong with me: I’m good to train for the Iron Man Triathlon! Strange that I have been tired (not sleepy, tired) since the age of 7 and for the past 10 odd years I am always in pain! Sometimes, not often, the pain makes pray for death, but most of the time its a nagging jab or pull that just won’t let me do a normal day’s work. Sometimes its everywhere, sometimes its only the back or only the hips or only the neck or only something else.

I have seen a number of physiotherapists, massage therapists, acupuncture  for the rare times that a doctor did diagnose tennis elbow or sciatica – how banal can you get? Now, I have been bugging to see a specialist, buzzing from one doctor to the next until I finally found a physiotherapist specializing in both musicians injuries and chronic pain (web site) – she treats the performers of the National Arts Center Orchestra (NACO).

FINALLY! A professional has seen that my body is a mess, but also knows what to do about it! She gave me some preparatory exercises for a new form of treatment that will prompt my body to heal itself. After that, I’ll be able to start working on building strength again: notice that I used to be a Master Corporal in the Army and now I can’t squeeze against a little lady’s arms!

Things you should do (no cost at all) to prevent injury:

  • Do a Google Search on Ergonomics and Posture, especially seated and at the computer: apply what you learn!
  • Get a Kooiman thumb rest or the Music-Stand bell-hook
  • Do a full set of stretching every evening
    (find a book from your local library on standard stretching for golfers)
  • Drinking 2 liters of water (half a gallon) every day really makes a difference!
  • Keep in shape! I don’t care if its hockey, yoga, kick-boxing or hip-hop dancing, keep your body moving!

I’ll keep adding more on this subject as things develop.


Howard Ng said...

This is very helpful, keep updating us here!

Jennet said...

Why golfers? That's a fascinating piece of advice I've not heard before.

RobinDesHautbois said...

Perhaps I should have said golfers and cros-country skiers. The Golfers twist their backs probably more than any other sport. The spine is the origin of every movement we ever make, no matter what we do. A routine that does not focus on the spine (from hip to neck) is missing a crucial aspect. Joggers stretches are very important to alleviate the pitfalls of sitting down at the computer all day and cross-country skiers might have stretches to loosten the shoulders and arms.