Minor/ridiculous injuries

April 3, 2012 at 06:02 PM · So yesterday at work I gave myself a lovely blood blister on my left index finger right where I'd put it down on my violin strings. I've always been warned against popping blisters, so I'm out of the violin playing game for a few days. It's silly that such a tiny inconvenience can cause the entire hand to feel worthless. Has anyone else had a similar experience, or even a more ridiculous one? I'm not looking for health advice or anything, just curious if anyone has any War Stories. :)

Replies (24)

April 3, 2012 at 07:06 PM · Well for things that prevent me from playing? I was running down the stairs when I missed a step, and made a long jagged scar on my chin. It definitely hurt to play.

April 3, 2012 at 08:47 PM · I've always been very picky about the length of my nails on my left hand. If even one nail is a little too long and I can feel it when I put my finger down, I have to clip it or else I won't be able to concentrate. So, I've started keeping nail clippers in my cases just so I can fix my nails wherever I am:)

April 4, 2012 at 04:10 AM · I cut off the tip of number 2 instead of a mushroom once.

April 4, 2012 at 04:51 AM · Ouch Emily! I had a related experience - I was carving a Thanksgiving turkey and sliced my pinkie finger to the bone...made life difficult for a week or two.

April 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Ugh! Unpleasant stories. I've got a couple of my own:

1. On real cold winter days (below 20 degrees F), the skin on a finger or two (or a thumb) next to the nail tends to crack and bleed. It hurts like a bad paper cut. If it's a finger on my left hand, I can't put any pressure on it and press the string. If it's the thumb on the right hand, I can't grab the bow. The only thing that's helped so far is to wear surgical gloves when I'm outside on those days.

2. Currently, I've got a real deal-breaker. On March 15th, I had to have a pacemaker put in my chest, due to Bradycardia-Tachycardia Syndrome, a chronically low heartbeat alternating with an abnormally high heartbeat (happens to some people, like me, when they get older). The device keeps my heartbeat from dropping too low. If you have to have a heart problem, this is the one to have - it's not heart disease, and it's completely controllable with the pacemaker. Anyway, they put it in the right shoulder instead of the left, so that I can play the violin. The problem is that for 8 weeks following the surgery I can't play the violin or lift anything heavy and such. This makes me very unhappy (although it may make my family and any audience very happy).

Anyway, I share the frustration with all of you.



April 4, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Once a twice in my lovely Home ec. Class, I would give myself a darling cut or stab from the needle at the fingertip. This is a great reminder that I should be thankfull to the fact that I am lucky enough to heal faster than normal people. To a degree that the minor burn would be near fully healed by the end of the day or completely gone by the time I have lesson :) Blisss

April 4, 2012 at 02:54 PM · I also cut my Finger No. 2 in the kitchen once. Sliced off a tiny bit of skin, and it barely bled. I think if it had bled more it would have healed better. It was exactly where my finger contacts the string and it took a long time to get better. Fortunately (if you can say that) this occured during my 25 year absence from the violin.

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Nadia Solerno-Sonnenberg. Didn't she hurt her hand badly somehow?

April 4, 2012 at 05:32 PM · A few weeks ago, my teacher placed my fingers correctly to play the artificial harmonic in Kabalevsky Concerto and that sprained my pinky!

I should add that beside saying "ouch", I kept playing out of stuburness to have this damn harmonic right... This was stupid of me.

I paid for it... It took a 4 weeks violin break with ice and physiorub cream. The pain was not easy to chase... The anti-inflammatory pills burned my stomach badly. Now I'm find and back playing!

Still, what a ridiculous injury! It was spring break. I had waited so long for this moment to play violin... but I couldn't.

I also remember when they removed these back teeth every teen gets removed... I had squirel cheeks for a few days and couldn't play :)

April 4, 2012 at 05:49 PM · This involved the soprano recorder, not the violin.

In the early 80’s I had been practicing a Vivaldi Concerto and putting in a lot of hours considering I was also working overtime as a draftsperson.

I had been playing most of the weekend and towards the end I was flying. I was playing way beyond anything I had done before. I was so excited I came to that last C and slammed my fingers down.

Draftspersons were like the bikers of the engineering department at that manufacturing plant. It was no fun explaining why I couldn’t bend my right pinky for a few days.

A flute injury.

April 4, 2012 at 06:54 PM · I cut the tip of my left middle finger while cutting a bagel recently. It was just to the side of where the finger contacts the string, so I was able to play, which was a good thing since it was just a couple of days before a concert! When I blogged about it on v.com, I was told to buy a bagel guillotine (which I still haven't gotten around to ;-)

And yeah, I thought almost immediately of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, whose kitchen accident is described in Laurie's interview:


April 5, 2012 at 03:03 AM · -Karen

A bagel guillotine,what an excellent idea ;-), I could definitely use one of those. Let me know when you find them.

April 5, 2012 at 03:14 AM · Skylar those bagel guillotines are very common and not expensive. Cheers.

April 5, 2012 at 03:22 AM · Playing with a cat-bite injury on my left hand (I got medical treatment). One thing good it is doing is forcing my fingers to stay close to the fingerboard. Moto Perpetuo has never sounded so good.

April 5, 2012 at 05:45 AM · We have had several bagel guillotines at work, but I don't recommend using them on fresh soft bagels unless you like your bagels squished.

April 5, 2012 at 07:56 AM · The bagel slice is the most treated injury in the ER on Saturday and Sunday mornings in NYC. (Got that stat from some guy who works in one--could be fiction.)

Best to learn how to properly cut a bagel by placing it on the counter and using a large, sharp knife (serrated, to make it through that wonderful crust) to cut parallel to the table, holding it still with the palm, fingers up and out of the way. Slice with light pressure and lots of lateral sawing, then halfway through the bagel, tip it sideways on the counter and finish the job, holding the bagel -above- the knife.

Happy bagel cutting, violin people!

April 6, 2012 at 02:44 AM · Funny, even if I was given the name of the most uncarefull person in the world by my parent, I've never actually cut myself before.(Except for that one time when I was 6 and have to skin a fish, but that's only a minor touch in, like pinprick level of blood)

April 6, 2012 at 02:57 AM · When you buy your bagels, ask the person at the store to slice them for you.

Division of labor is, after all, the basis of civilization.

April 6, 2012 at 09:30 PM · I slammed my left thumb in a car door, sideways, and almost popped the nail off right there. However, out of stupidity or stubbornness, I kept playing. Maybe it was all those years in the military...

April 9, 2012 at 04:17 AM · Wow, reading everyone's painful experiences, I feel so sorry for violinists' fingertips!!!! Who knew that they could get in the way so much and so often? He's not a violinist (or any kind of instrumentalist), but my brother was hand-grating some cheese and sliced his fingers quite nicely. He now refuses to grate cheese hhahaha!

April 9, 2012 at 06:12 AM · I stupidly gouged a piece out of my finger with a cuticle knife (trying to get the plug out of the bath (the chain was missing) when at a fancy hotel, to make it even stupider).

I'm surprised there are no examples of burns - I'm always singing my finger tips when cooking, but fortuantely nothing serious yet.

April 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM · Two years ago, I had a weird injury on my first finger. After the first cold spell of the season, my left index just refused to move. It was half bent, and just completely immobile. I had x-rays done; nothing was broken, however I had my finger in a splint during all of Thanksgiving Break.

When school started again I started practicing again, even with the splint on me. Needless to say, I had a lot of practice with half positions that year.

April 10, 2012 at 02:31 AM · One of the things I did to put myself through conservatory was work as a prep/line cook at a restaurant. After about a thousand pounds of onions I developed a certain confidence with knives and cutting and such. Fast forward to few years ago (at home) I was chopping herbs with some zeal and my cutting board slipped and with it my hand. I chopped through the nails on my second, third, and fourth fingers on my left hand. I didn't make it to the bones, but I was out of commission for a few weeks.

I now always keep a slightly damp terry towel under my cutting boards. :-) What an idiot. *I knew better*.

April 10, 2012 at 03:14 AM · Oh, I know! The knife accidents don't happen in the commercial kitchen like they do at home when you're doing things you should know better than to do.

I've got countless burn scars from commercial baking, but mostly on the arms. Fingers are surprisingly hardy when it comes to temperature resistance. I dropped a piece of ginger in my soup while cooking yesterday and fished it out without thinking about the fact that the broth had come to a boil. It was like, "Ow!" and then I laughed at myself for being so silly. Didn't even scald a little.

As far as burns go, the worst ones are steam burns, so beware when reaching across the tea kettle! I slipped the skin right off my wrist that way once.

April 10, 2012 at 04:53 AM · Burns can be very bad. I knew at one time that a burn of a certain size needs to be looked after, sometimes by a doctor.

I once took something out of the oven and in pushing the rack back in my hand and my pad slipped and the area between my left thumb and index finger went into the rack. This made for about an inch and a half length of burn wrapping around the skin webbing between the fingers.

I was told to go to the hospital when my thumb and index finger started going numb. It was late and this was before there were many after hour clinics.

Eventhing healed fine, but I have since read of possible nerve damage from large burns.

Scary stuff to a musician and craftsperson.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

2023 Authenticate LA: Los Angeles Violin Shop
2023 Authenticate LA

Violinist.com Shopping Guide
Violinist.com Shopping Guide


Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop



Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine