Question: I feel stiffness and discomfort when I play my violin. What can I do?
I specialize in helping violinists discover more freedom and ease in the mind and body while practicing and performing, thereby reducing or eliminating pain, tension, and anxiety. Here are just a few tips to point you in a more comfortable direction:
1. First, get in the habit of doing 5-20 minutes (the more the better!) of Constructive Rest with my “3 Magic Phrases” before you start practicing. You can download a free guide to learn how to do this from the purple box in the right sidebar.
2. Walking around or letting yourself dance a bit when you play is a fun way to remind yourself that your joints can be free and movable even while you play.
3. Don’t stiffen your legs while you play. No locked knees!
4. I don’t care what your teacher said – make sure your eyes don’t get fixed to one spot as you play – NOTHING should EVER be fixed or stuck in one place! The point is to be aware as often as possible that you are free and mobile on the inside of you, so that you can learn to be outwardly relatively still, while you are free on the inside.
Your music will easily move your audience
when YOU are movable!
5. Playing an instrument is all about experimenting. There is NO right way to do anything at the violin!! (Or any other instrument, for that matter!) There are ways that are better for you, or less helpful for you. YOU are the one who knows what is best for you. Make the time to really listen to what your body is telling you, and be gentle with yourself.
6. When you’re in discomfort, only do very short bits of practicing at a time (just a few minutes), and take LOTS of breaks.
7. HAVE FUN!!! If you’re not enjoying yourself and you’re uncomfortable, it’s time to take a break and look around at all the beauty and peace in the world around you! There’s more to life than your discomfort, thank God.
These are just a few tips for beginners AND professionals. It doesn’t matter what skill level you are, and it doesn’t matter what your particular circumstances are. We are all human beings who tend to forget about the “being” part; somehow we think we’re human “doings”!
We need to remember to stop and listen to the inner wisdom we carry around within us all the time, which is full of life, breath, and movement at all times.
Learn to “Stop – think – play”,
and the most important of those is “stop”.
I wish you well!! If you’re interested in learning more about The Art of Freedom and the Alexander Technique to help you find a centered, easier way to play, let me know! I currently have openings for online lessons and classes, so it doesn’t matter where you live – I can help. 🙂