Tips for Healthy Practicing, Part 2


What do you do if you feel pain from playing? The first thing is, STOP playing if it hurts. End your practice session early. Do not keep playing through the pain. It will just aggravate the problem. If you have to sit out of a rehearsal, that is fine. Conductors are usually very understanding about injuries. If you are taking private lessons, talk to your instructor about any problems you are having, so they can look for tension in your playing. Talking about practice techniques and how to play relaxed, or discussing areas of tension, are great ways to utilize a lesson! If the pain continues for more than a few days, visit your primary health care provider so you can get an appropriate diagnosis.

Another important thing to assess, especially if you are already having issues, is the other activities you do outside of music. Can you lighten the load you carry around in your briefcase or book-bag? Lessen the number of hours you spend hunched over a computer? Spend a little time working out or exercising with a friend? Take a leisurely walk after you are done practicing? Anything you do that is good for your body – and your stress level – is also good for your music making.

Injuries are easiest to treat when they first appear. Taking a day of rest or easing off from practicing when you feel fatigued is a lot easier than taking a whole month off for a more serious injury. Those first signals of pain your body sends you are important. If the pain goes away when you adjust your technique or relax your arm, fine. But don’t push it. Take frequent breaks, listen to your body, and stop when it tells you to. Performance injuries are quite treatable – especially when you act on them right away – but it is even easier to just spend those few extra minutes warming up and taking breaks during your practice time. Practice smarter, not harder. Your body will be much happier, and you will be able to stay more “fit” for all that performing.

In Summary…

  • Listen to your body (it’s the only one you’ve got!) It if hurts, stop and take a break.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s okay to say “No” to an extra gig or performance if you already have too much on your plate.
  • If you are hurting, or just want to learn more about how to prevent injury, there are many resources available for you. Talk to your instructor about any concerns related to playing comfort, tightness, tension, or pain from playing. They may be able to re-adjust your technique and help you play more relaxed.
  • If pain persists for more than a few days, see your doctor to get an appropriate diagnosis.

Want to learn more? Here are some resources that may interest you:

Playing (Less) Hurt, by cellist Janet Horvath

This book is an invaluable resource for any musician who is concerned about injuries related to playing their instrument. It includes injury prevention, warning signs, what to do when you get hurt, and important steps in the recovery process. To order the book or find out more about Horvath’s work, visit

The Athletic Musician: A Guide to Playing Without Pain, by Barbara Paull and Christine Harrison

This book examines the musician’s role as an athlete, and is an excellent complement to Horvath’s Playing (less) Hurt.

You Are Your Instrument: The Definitive Musician’s Guide to Practice and Performance, by Julie Lyonn Liebermann.

This text includes a wide variety of information on preventing and recovering from injuries. It encompasses mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of practice and performance.

A Resource Guide for the Injured String Player, by Michelle Rush.

This treatise gives an excellent introduction to musician injuries in string players and reviews a large quantity of books and articles for further research. Available in pdf format at

Coming up next: “Finding the Perfect Setup.” Have you spent your entire career searching for the right setup for your instrument? Find out more about the process of finding a comfortable setup!

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One Response to Tips for Healthy Practicing, Part 2

  1. Lane Bryant free shipping May 17, 2017 at 10:13 pm #

    I think a visualized presentation can be better then simply a simple text, if information are defined in images one can effortlessly understand these.

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