What causes this misalignment and pressure on a nerve? Stress! Whether it is physical, chemical, or emotional, stress can cause dysfunction within the nervous system. Musicians have major physical stress. Repetitively playing an instrument in the same position and utilizing the same muscles over and over again puts major physical demands on the body. RSI, either combined with poor posture ergonomics or independent of each other, is direct physical stress that can cause subluxations in the spine or joints of the upper extremities.
“Hearing protection is for sissies,” says my guitar playing friend Pete. He casually signs the internationally understood words for “earplug” and “feather weight” in my direction. Years of thunderous nights in tiny clubs have left him aurally impotent. It’s sad to see. With proper ear protection, his life may have turned out differently.
Blisters are small, raised lesions in which fluid collects under the skin. They are frequently caused by friction, so it is no surprise that musicians, from drummers to guitarists to clarinet players get blisters on their hands. Though they are relatively minor injuries, blisters can cause enough discomfort to curb your playing.
Never underestimate the value of performing, whether at home for family and friends, or in a ‘proper’ concert venue on a special grand piano. Performing for others, and the ability to get up and do it, is an important life skill as it builds confidence and self-reliance – and not just in the sphere of music.
If you want to get in shape and learn how to play a new instrument, but don’t really have time in your busy schedule, why not try an instrument that will allow you to do both at the same time?
The Alexander Technique is a method of learning that addresses inefficient habits of movement and patterns of accumulated tension that interfere with your innate ability to move easily.
Playing the bugle requires more than lips and lungs. Playing piano requires more than nimble fingers. Really, playing any instrument at all requires sound mind and body. If you want to play well, you’ve got to take care of yourself—and I mean your whole self. Exercise is important, and so is diet. Whether you’re trying to memorize a song or your tendonitis is flaring up from too much guitar playing, there’s an herb or vitamin for that. Here are just a few of the areas you can begin improving after a visit to your local health food store.