Tension and tendonitis

July 7, 2006 at 04:18 AM · Last year, I developed tendonitis in my left hand due to excessive tension while playing and the waitressing job I had at the time. I stopped playing for a year and spent time getting treatment for the tendonitis. I'd like to begin playing again, and I'm wondering how I can reduce tension and develop a healthier style of playing. The tension I have isn't limited to over-zealous sqeezing of the fingerboard - it seems to extend into my elbow and up my arm. Suggestions? Advice?

Replies (2)

July 7, 2006 at 05:27 AM · Greetings,

very often it is cause by incorrect rotation of the forearm when putting the violin up. Taht is, the little finger side of the arm is the strongest and most stable side and sghuld be used as the axis around whcih the thumb and thumb side of the arm rotates. You can pracitce this by placing your hand and forearm face down on the table. Keep the little finger side absolutely in one psotion on the table as you use it as the axis around which the hand turns through 180 degrees and the palm is facin fg upwards. Now try the opposite. IE try and turn the palm face upwards by keeping the thumb suide as the axis and rorating the little finger side through 180 degrees. The tension is enormous, yet that is how many player sput the violin up.

Othe rthan that I strongly recommend you take Alexander (or Feldenkreis) lessons.

Cheers,

Buri

July 7, 2006 at 09:00 PM · Rebekah:

I'm limiting my comment here to a way to simply relax the hand, arm, and shoulder (not while playing the violin). I've mentioned this on one of the other discussion threads, but I think if you find a few minutes throughout the day to do this, it may help.

Sit in a chair with an arm rest. Let both hands rest on the arm rest, so that the hands drop over the end and hang down. Now imagine that from your shoulder down to your fingertips, your arm is like a wet dishrag or a wet towel - it just sits there and gravity causes the hand to droop. The feeling is like a wet towel must "feel" - no muscles, no physical feelings or sensations, no tension of any kind, and maybe only a sense of heaviness and lethargy. Let that feeling creep into BOTH of your hands (as well as your arms and shoulders). Just focus on it for not more than a minute.

Do that several times a day, when you have a few free minutes to pay full attention to it.

About 3 years ago I had left elbow tendonitis surgery, which in my case was successful. They told me at the time that it was probably due to all those years of playing the violin (since I am right handed and violin playing is virtually the only activity I engage in regularly that could conceivably cause that kind of wear-and-tear). I found this view surprising, because I never thought I practiced that much.

Hope that helps. Cordially, Sandy

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