Coming back to violin after a break

January 9, 2019, 12:06 AM · How do you guys (particularly those who practise regularly) get back 'in shape' after a holiday/injury/otherwise not being able to play for a while? My current method is lots of scales and Schradieck, but am interested to hear other ways.

Replies (8)

Edited: January 9, 2019, 6:03 AM · For the first few days, I limit myself to my basic 20-minute warm-up routine: bowing arm exercises, Schradieck, vibrato exercises, scales, shifts, double-stops -- in that order. After this, I gradually lengthen the sessions and resume some etude reviews and repertoire. After 7-10 days, the left fingertips are once again toughened enough to take the 2-3 hours a day of practicing and playing that I can fit in.
January 9, 2019, 5:24 PM · If I'm coming from a vacation, I practice the usual amount but I start with some nice lyrical Mazas (Nos. 4 & 5) or Kreutzer (Nos. 8 & 10) at easy tempos, scales and arpeggios, etc. And often I take whatever I was working on and just hold back the tempos and the intensity until I'm back into condition which usually only takes a few days. In the case of an injury I'm much more cautious.
January 9, 2019, 6:01 PM · I'm curious how long it usually takes people to get "back in shape" (back to the level you were at before the break)? Say for a break of a few days, for a week, a month, a couple months?
January 9, 2019, 6:02 PM · I'm curious how long it usually takes people to get "back in shape" (back to the level you were at before the break)? Say for a break of a few days, for a week, a month, a couple months?
Edited: January 9, 2019, 6:54 PM · My physiotherapist told me about the rule of 10% increase once the pain is not present and one is comfortable playing for a certain time.
In essence, one is supposed to come back gradually. Although is may sound ridiculous to add 1 minute to 10 minutes, when the injury is substantial, it is very important to avoid re-injuring yourself.
January 9, 2019, 7:52 PM · If it is a short vacation, I just go back to practicing what I have been working on, taking more frequent breaks if I get tired. It usually takes no more than 3-4 days and since I am working with a teacher, I will find out soon enough if something has slipped that I haven't caught. For a longer (several months to a year or more) break I would recommend starting with slow scales and then going back to something you are comfortable with. For me this is usually the easier movements of solo Bach and maybe an etude that I learned before. Also, get someone (coach, teacher, friend) to hear you to get a "reality check." If you are coming back after an illness or injury, that's a different matter. If your medical folks give you a green light to go ahead, start with 20 minute sessions and work up slowly. Stop if you get too tired and be patient.
Edited: January 9, 2019, 9:37 PM · After 1-3 weeks off (usually 1) I will usually take at least a few days to feel back to normal again. Any longer than that and it can take a while.
January 10, 2019, 10:49 AM · It helps me to bring music along and practice in my head, or play scales in my head concentrating on how the muscles coordinate. Or listen to any recordings that I like, which results in my brain automatically engaging the “playing” mode in some way. For short breaks of a week-ish, this helps. Then oddly, shorter breaks where I don’t do it can result in *more* rustiness.


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