And Stretch; Two, Three, Four…

A reminder to stretch before practice came to me at the chiropractor’s office, of all places. The boy and I get adjustments somewhat regularly and the chiropractor noticed tension in wee-man’s left shoulder during our most recent visit. I questioned whether it might be related to his violin practice. She thought playing violin might be the cause and suggested a little massage before and after each practice.

Notice anything a little “off” in the image above?

Upon further inspection, it seems my son’s left shoulder is a bit higher than the other. The fact he’s been using it to hold an instrument every morning for the past few years *might* have something to do with it. Well, we’re certainly not giving up our instruments over some tight muscles or a slightly raised shoulder, but the idea of taking care of our bodies just makes good sense.

I turned to a book I purchased several years ago when my bow hand and wrist were in pain from a lot of practice and computer work: The Athletic Musician: A Guide to Playing Without Pain. While I don’t totally share Barbara Paull’s belief about weight training avoidance, she has a lot of good exercise and posture suggestions for preventing injuries. We’ve been using many of her stretches and warm ups before practice and I’m finding a noticeable improvement in our sound quality. In a perfect world, violin practice would follow an hour of yoga, a hot shower and a soy latte, but that routine’s going to have to wait for retirement.

Stringed players of the world, what’s your warm up routine? Before you delve into your scales and etudes how to you prepare your *body* to play?

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