I've said it before and I'll say it again: Playing the violin can be a pain in the neck. Literally!
One of the easiest ways we can prevent injury is to stretch before playing. In fact, here are three articles that are full of good stretches to do, to keep yourself pain-free while engaging in this strange physical activity of violin-playing.
But how often do you do your warm-ups before rehearsal, practice or performance? Back when I played in the Omaha Symphony, I managed to injure my neck enough to seek out a physical therapist. She gave me a set of neck exercises to do before playing, and for several months I dutifully stretched for five minutes before rehearsal and practice. Then the pain went away, and I stopped!
But the best treatment for these problems is prevention, and that means doing the neck, wrist, arms stretches even when there is no problem. In fact, as I think about this as a teacher, stretches might be a good way to start off lessons with students, introducing those good habits from the beginning.
I'm curious about whether very many people routinely stretch before and/or after playing. And please feel free to comment on any exercises or routines that you find helpful for preventing injury and/or recovering from injury.
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