So I've played violin for nine years, beginning my tenth year in a couple months. Also, my jaw has had a painful popping problem for the past few years. This happens to be a form of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a malfunction of any of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) components.
I was wondering a few things:
1) Is this easily caused (and made worse) by playing the violin (or by bad posture)?
2) Anyone else have this problem? Are there ways to avoid the popping?
On a note of bad posture, which I am suspecting may be the culprit:
When I was in eighth grade, I noticed during one of my extensively long practices (two full hours...I have always practiced for fun!) that I held my jaw a little bit crooked while playing. My lower jaw was about a centimeter to the left (also the side with the violin), which is about as far as the bones and muscles will naturally allow it to go. I wasn't doing it intentionally, but just happened to notice it.
A few years later, the popping began. About every other month, I would be either talking or eating, and I would open my jaw, and there would be a pop on one side, which caused brief pain. I asked my mom and she said she has that, too. She has never played violin, though, so it's possible it's genetic.
Today, the popping happens, oh, maybe once a week. Last night was the first time it happened while I was not talking or eating...I was playing violin. I know, you're thinking, "Why is Rob's jaw opening while he plays violin?" To tell you the truth, I thought it was an awkward time to open my jaw, too. I was experimenting, trying to work on a better vibrato. I decided to try playing without using the support of my thumb on the neck (probably not a good idea, but I was ready to give it a try), which meant I needed to grip the violin more firmly with my jaw. So one thing led to another, and I eventually noticed that my lower jaw was off to the left again...and opening. Odd. I've never played with it open; always talked between my teeth while playing.
Anyway, there was a pop right then and there, which made me decide that's probably a bad way to do vibrato...especially since it felt very awkward in the first place.
So yeah. Any suggestions? (not on the vibrato...that was just experimental)
Anyone else have similar problems? stories?
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