Tight jaw muscles
After around an hour of continuous practice, I have experienced tightness in my jaw muscles and noticed that I have been biting down very hard. What can I change to avoid this?
Relax your jaw muscles?
Practice with your mouth slightly open. This will make you aware of when the musical impulses are going to your mouth rather than your fingers.
Alexander Technique helped me immensely with jaw problems that were exacerbated by poor violin technique, but probably had more to do with stress and other factors. I actually had a mouth guard made and managed to chew through it in about a year. I haven't had any jaw issues in years now.
You might be clamping down too much with your chin, or you might have a chin rest or shoulder rest setup that’s too high and is causing you to strain against the instrument. If you have a teacher, ask for an assessment of your playing position. If you don’t, you can try mental or physical exercises to make your body more relaxed as you play, or you can simply try changing hardware to see if there’s something that gives you a better fit.
All good advice here to practice relaxation techniques. I know an orchestral violinist who cracked a tooth from this kind of tension.
Has your teacher evaluated your tension? Is there be a component related to using 'the wrong' shoulder rest or chin?
I was going to give the same advice that Bruce did. (Note that you can still keep your lips closed, lol)
All good suggestions. There's just no getting around applying some of your bandwidth to the issue until you can resolve it. Right now it's your jaw and that's bad enough. Next it'll be your neck and then you're done for.
When I set out as a very late starter on violin, I asked a friend who has become a pedagogue at a famous conservatoire what was the single most important guidance he could offer a beginner.
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