Pattern Overload

August 18, 2017, 10:14 PM · Pattern Overload is a concept I learned about when studying strength training. I think it applies to violinists just as much as any athlete. Let me know what you think.

Replies (5)

August 20, 2017, 5:46 AM · I am unable to understand how strength training is needed for playing the violin. As the student learns to play the instrument (preferably under a teacher who knows their job) the necessary muscles will develop to cope as nature intended - which doesn't take long.
August 20, 2017, 6:51 AM · Yes, our problems are with tendons and ligaments rather than muscles.
Edited: August 20, 2017, 11:36 AM · Apart for his use of language, I do agree with the basic concept; there are certain patterns of muscle (and tendon) engagement in violin / viola playing.
If you disagree, just observe a cello or double-bass player - their posture drives different muscle engagement.
We do need to re-gain balance and the main question is what do we do after we finish our daily practice.
...and yes, it is at least partially about muscle strength & balance.
August 20, 2017, 11:01 AM · I've done violin playing and strength training for a long time now. There are definite parallels between the two regarding basic precautions to take to avoid pattern overload and stay as injury free as possible -- e.g., proper warm-up, posture, form, avoidance of overtraining/over-practicing.

In working out, my sequence is WALK, STRETCH, LIFT, REST. In violin, it's WALK, STRETCH, PRACTICE, REST. Just as I rest between sets of a strength-training exercise, I rest between "sets" of demanding violin drills like Sevcik or Schradieck. I find these drills best in small, concentrated doses. I intersperse them with a few minutes of vibrato exercises -- or something that lets the hand muscles stretch and relax before the next onslaught.

August 20, 2017, 1:31 PM · He is absolutely right. You do not need to further exercise the muscles that lift your arms if you play the violin all day. If you are lifting the arms all day those muscles are strong enough. What you need to exercise is the muscles that keep the arm (the shoulder joint) DOWN i.e. rotator cuff exercises etc.
The book "The atheletic musician" by Barbara Paull takes this up highlighting the need for balance in muscle strength and specifically exercise the muscles that counteract the action we do when playing (arm lifting). It really helps you get the shoulder down where it belongs......

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