I have had the pleasure of working closely with many classical musicians- young and old, students and well known professionals- and have had many opportunities to observe them and their colleagues in practice and performance. All too frequently I see musicians who are clearly playing in pain, musicians who are dangerously unaware of their bodies and musicians whose sound is compromised by layers of tension and stress.
Many musicians, regardless of their instrument, play from the mid-chest up, oblivious to the fact that their sound and technique is affected by the placement of their feet and legs, the stress in their lower backs, their shallow breath. It is important to understand-mentally and physically-how one part of the body effects all other parts. Often a practitioner’s diagnosis comes as a surprise; the presenting chronic pain felt in the neck is often manifested by chronic holding in the middle back.
When a musician developes tendonitis in her elbow and seeks help, it is crucial the goal be not only to become asymptomatic but to find the root cause. Once this is determined, one should pay as much attention to that part of body, and surrounding areas, as is paid to the original pain. Common issues, such as carpal tunnel, cumulative trauma,and tendonitis can be greatly decreased by using this whole body approach.