Every now and then we hear about some famous, very high level violin or other instrument performers who have to cancel concerts because of "health issues". Just to name only a few, there was Maxim Vengerov, Hilary Hahn, Julian Lloyd Webber (whom I already talked about in another page), the pianist Lang Lang, David Garrett and, more recently, Janine Jansen.
Often, it's revealed
they had injuries related to playing their instruments.
Suffering from an injury does not mean a player is not good, and Janine Jansen and those players I mentioned above are all great musicians.
It just means that they are doing, forcing, certain movements that are not natural, they are not how our body was meant to move. In most cases, they are just some extra movements, unnecessary for playing.
Since, of course, professional concert
players, orchestral players and advanced music students play their
instrument for many hours every day, in very demanding situations, all this
causes even more physical and emotional tension than would "normally"
happen when playing.
can happen to any player, at any level but, of course,
the more you play the more chances there are, IF you play in a way that puts a lot of strain on your body.
There are different types of injuries musicians can incur and when they become severe, they cause the player to stop playing their instrument, at least for some time.
It would seem like it is not possible to play violin, viola and other instruments without injuries but, fortunately, this is not true.
Many players resort to severaly remedies like rest, massage, physiotherapy, painkiller drugs and even surgery (after this, they usually give up playing) which can offer some relief for a while, but they are temporary solutions.
The cause of musicians' injuries is in their way of playing. If they don't change that, they are very likely to have the same issue again later on.
The problem is that we tend to play using a lot of force and un-natural movements.
We just need to re-learn to use natural movements, like in walking. This issue was addressed already many years ago by Kato Havas, violinist child prodigy and concert performer who then developed her New Approach Havas, a way of playing that prevents and eliminates aches and pains as well as stage fright, which is a consequence.
Here are a few articles appeared on The Strad magazine about Janine. There are also more articles about other performers who did talk about their problems (because not everybody does). In order to read these articles, you need to register (it's free) on The Strad's website.
On 12 Septemeber 2019, Janine Jansen cancels the opening cocncert at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
‘Janine Jansen,... has expressed her regret at having to cancel. Illness makes it impossible for her to travel,’ the stated.
A few days later, on 18th, Janine Jansen cancels seven-date South American tour due to illness
Finally, on 19 Septemeber 2019, Janine Jansen reveals arm injury as cause for cancellations
‘Due to injury of my left arm I have... been
forced to withdraw from my first ever South American tour ... Fortunately, a full recovery and return to stage is expected soon.’
I was happy to read that eventually, she recovered and started giving concerts again.
Janine Jansen injury caused her to cancel concerts. Is it possible to play violin, viola and other instruments without injuries?
Famous players are the "lucky" ones, in a way, because they can afford to stop playing (and working) for weeks, months or even years.
Many musicians suffer from the same problems, but they can't afford to stop, they have to keep working to earn their money. So they just carry on through pain and temporary "solutions".
There is an article on Strad about a study carried out among the players of Australian orchestras. Half of them said they feel pain when playing, a quarter of them are constantly in pain, even when they are not playing, the majority of them said the pain affected the way they played.
When players decide they need to stop, it's because they have been struggling for long time, because injuries do not appear all of a sudden.
Most players with injuries resort to painkillers, massage, even surgery. However, they rarely address the cause, which is the tension in their playing.
But it is possible to avoid all these problems, if you learn to play in a way that doesn't cause tension. It is not difficult and it takes much less time than you spent learning to play the way you do now.
Learn all about the Havas New Approach, she was a pioneer int this, everything else that's come after owes a lot to her. So go to the source, read all her books, watch the teching DVD, the videos of a workshop and also watch this video where I explain more.
Best wishes for your music!
Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.