It has been two years since I took my Oklahoma “sabbatical” and I am now living back in Michigan where I am enjoying life as a teacher and performer.
Getting back into my life here in Michigan after my year away has been a transition. When I left I was very much still in student mode and now that I’m back I’ve shifted into professional mode. Teaching has become a constant and something that is very important to me as I continue to grow with my instrument.
I am still dealing with discomfort on my left side on a daily basis, but the tools I have to deal with it have multiplied. I have developed a routine that works and allows me to play regularly. Explaining tension free violin techniques to my students has been the best thing for my own understanding of it, not to mention that it brings me incredible joy to teach because my students are truly the best. Their excitement for the instrument has reminded me what it is to be excited about it and seeing their rental violin cases from Shar has brought about some major nostalgia!
Although so many things are feeling good, I wanted to write about something that continues to be a challenge as well as share some strategies I’ve been using to continue moving forward. Who knows, maybe someone else will find something useful in this thought process.
As I sit here writing this I am listening to the Beethoven Opus 18 string quartets. I’ve always found it a challenge to have classical music on as background music because so often I find myself wanting to give it my full attention. But hey, I want to get to know the Beethoven string quartets better so I thought why not have them on while I write. Unfortunately, there’s another side effect to listening to any music that involves violin these days which I think describes what I’ve been dealing with pretty well. Even listening to the violin makes my arm hurt. In fact right now not only is my arm sore but I actually feel my left foot getting tense, just like it does when I play. The fact of it is, there is a still a lot of mental baggage for me when I so much as think about my instrument.
This past summer, I attended a talk about mindfulness and instrument playing. The talk was a part of a 10 day intensive workshop on teaching the violin and the viola, so the attendees were all string players. We had our instruments with us and the instructor asked as all to put them up and play just one note. He then had us raise our hand if we were already judging ourselves for the sound that came out. Out of a room of maybe 30 string players, all but a few raised our hands. We had played one note and the majority of us were already judging ourselves.
I know I’m not alone in this, but the mental baggage that comes along with my violin playing feels really isolating sometimes. How is something that is supposed to bring so much joy something that also causes me physical discomfort just to think about? How does the act of simply lifting my instrument to my chin already bring so much anxiety? How many times have people told me how lucky I am to have chosen a career that I am so passionate about?
The fact is, if I could define my relationship status with my violin it would read “it’s complicated.” And I think I have to forgive myself for that fact. Telling myself I shouldn’t be feeling this way just isn’t natural and it won’t help me work through my anxieties. It’s like when somebody tells you to “just relax.”
So instead of telling myself in a vague way that I am really lucky and that it’s dumb to feel any other way (not poetic I know, but those are real words that have gone through my head), I am making an effort to rediscover what specifically brings me joy and finding new ways to bring about that joy. For one, I’ve been exploring improvisation on my instrument much more which has been a great tool for starting to build new associations with the violin. Teaching has been a huge help too. Thinking through strategies for my students and specific language to use with them that’s beyond the words “just relax” is something that makes me excited. I’m accepting that this is still a process, something that I think is worth reminding myself as much as possible.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading. I hope to continue these posts as it helps me to write and to share.
I’m getting into my last leg of this unique year in Oklahoma and it’s hard not to feel the pressure of moving forward. I spend much of my life thinking ahead (although I have also done my fair share of procrastination, let’s be real), but I think a major part of me equates racing forward to success. The problem is, sometimes I don’t have an actual idea of what “forward” means.
Growing up as a violinist, forward used to mean moving onto the next piece, especially in the early books. Success meant moving on, regardless of how well you were playing your current piece. Comparing yourself to other kids was so easy, especially because the Suzuki pieces and books were numbered. If a kid was “ahead of you” in the books, it automatically equated to them being a better player. I was lucky to grow up with a teacher who did not give into that rule and made sure that I was doing each piece well before I could move on even if it meant staying on a piece for a while, but it was sometimes hard as a kid to understand that logic.
It is less like that in my adult life as a violinist. I have started to appreciate the process of learning more as I get older, but there’s still a very large part of me that feels like I need to be “moving forward” constantly. I’m slowly learning that progress can mean many different things and it doesn’t always have to mean constant change, it can also mean slowing down and becoming comfortable working on things I may think I should already have mastered.
Through my seemingly never-ending struggle figuring out how many body relates to my violin I am slowly (and I mean slowlyyyy) learning a couple of important lessons. One is that the body is changing constantly and when I wake up in the morning it can be like starting all over. This can seem so discouraging but I’m accepting it as good information to know because it just means that I have to practice finding my alignment every day. Slowly (again with that word!) it will become easier to find and someday my body will know how to get there by itself. I am also learning that practicing little bits at a time in the right way can get you so much further than practicing a lot the wrong way, which seems obvious, but it’s actually so hard to actually put into practice!! Especially in our culture where constant practice is so valued. Practicing the wrong way is like working out the wrong way, you can seriously hurt yourself, not to mention it’s a waste of your time! (I need to cool it with exclamation points in my life in general but also in this post).
The process of understanding how my body works with the violin has been a sloth-like one (see I used a different word). I know that the work I’ve been doing this year will extend beyond the time I’ve spent in Oklahoma but I’m gaining the tools to carry with me as I move on. Much of my time has been spent focusing on something that may not amount to anything big in the end, but I am trying to take little kernels from all of my work and slowly piece them together into what I want my life to be. This lifelong learning is part of the fun of it, but it can also be infuriating at times. Sometimes I feel like I want to be done learning and just be an expert in something already! But then I think about the people I admire most in my life and those are the people who find joy in constantly improving and are able to bring that joy out in others. It’s not those who have completely 100% mastered being a human, because those people don’t really exist.
Here’s a photo from my recent trip to Arkansas where much of my life pondering took place:
First off, I’m happy to say that I have definitely gotten over a major hump in my redevelopment as a violinist. My hand position is making more sense than it ever has and with daily stretching and awareness I am becoming less prone to tension, or at least have gained a better understanding of when tension has the tendency to rear its ugly head. I think most importantly I am continuing to develop better habits that I am working to incorporate into my daily routine (for example, I try not to let myself play until I’ve done some yoga, which makes procrastination that much more of a struggle).
I do have to say that I thought all of this yoga would make me a little taller, even a quarter of an inch, but I’m sorry to report that I’m still the same height that I was in the 8th grade, courtesy of my most recent measurement at the doctor’s office 😦
It’s amazing how hard it is to admit successes to myself, especially when they feel small, but I need to remind myself occasionally of the progress I’ve made. This is important because naturally as some things get better my thoughts immediately go to the next hump I need to get over:
Which leads me to…
Goals for this semester:
Photo from my recent trip to Austin: Graffiti Park. Not pictured are the amazing tacos I had right
before coming here.
This year has been so focused on the technical which I realize can sound boring in writing (so thanks to whoever reads these posts) but I have to say that it has actually been a really exciting time. Every day I feel a little bit more command over my instrument and the sounds I am capable of producing. Violin is feeling less and less like an impossible task, and I can’t wait to start putting myself out there as a musician in a more real way.
(Self portrait of me right now)
There’s no other way around it, these last few weeks have been frustrating. I have come to realize more and more just how slow and difficult this process of fixing my physical barriers is. I’m so used to my success in violin being measured by how many correct notes I play and how beautiful I sound that taking a step back to try and fix ingrained technical issues is a whole new ball game. I have to accept that not creating a nice sound is ok if it means fixing a problem. I didn’t really realize until recently that though I say my goals have changed and my focus is technical this year, I still spend many practice sessions trying to produce a beautiful sound. The problem is that in order to produce the beautiful sound that I have come to pride myself in for all of these years, I compromise a lot technically.
For example, I have been trying to fix a left hand position problem for almost the entire semester. When I am using my hand correctly right now, my fourth finger is out of tune. When my professor told me that he didn’t care that my fourth finger was out of tune for now as long as my hand was in the right position, I still couldn’t bring myself to play out of tune, even after he had given me permission. Of course he wasn’t telling me it was ok to play out of tune forever, but for the purpose of the exercise it mattered more that my hand was correct.
I need to accept this, if I don’t the stakes for me are quite high. No matter how many correct notes I play, no matter how many people tell me I sound good, it doesn’t matter one bit if I am in pain.
Posting publicly to hold myself accountable.
Whew, thanks for reading and letting me vent. Feel free to share your thoughts.
Fall photo shoot with violin and festive violin hat knitted by my mom
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how better to express what I’ve been up to this year to friends and family (other than taking festive photos of my instrument). When people ask me how things are going I often joke that I’m not up to much and that this is not “real life,” when actually I’ve been feeling really good about the work I’ve been doing here, though it may not be the type of lifestyle that I am used to.
I, like most people I know, am used to being really busy all the time. The entire time I was in college and the year I took off after my masters degree were a whirlwind of stress. I thrived on it, I even enjoyed it most of the time because I was doing something I really loved (and still love). Unfortunately, that level of stress all of the time came at a cost for me. Playing my violin caused me to hurt physically, but the time I spent playing did not allow me to address any of these problems and the harmful way I was playing only made matters worse.
I want to be that busy again, I think being busy is a wonderful way to live, if you’re busy doing something you love, but I want to do it right.
So here’s what I’ve been up to during this year that I’ve been fortunate enough to allow myself:
I am so lucky to be able to take this time to collect myself as I move forward in my post-graduate life. I know this seems rather extreme compared to what most would want/are able to do but I definitely urge anyone who is having mental or physical anxieties, which in a musicians life is unfortunately quite common, to allow themselves time to take a step back even if it’s a small thing like taking a day off or allowing yourself a little time every day to stretch or meditate.
Here’s an article written by the Dean of Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music, my undergrad, that highlights a lot of what I’ve been thinking about lately: Do Less!. This is a wonderful model for the type of thinking that I think needs to be encouraged much more in the high stress culture of the music world. There’s a difference between being productive and being constantly stressed out, and this balance is difficult for people who are driven. I’m still working on this balance every day and I would love to hear how other people handle their stress.
Thank you so much for reading, take a breath.
P.S. Here’s a great yoga video on breathing and movement: Yoga with Adriene: Breathe and Body Practice
There’s something about moving to a new place that propels you forward a little bit. I tend to get especially excited about a change of scenery (and if I’m being honest, a change of weather since I’ve only ever lived in a cold, harsh northern tundra, putting on layer upon layer of clothing every time I had to leave my house for a gig or having to wait hours for my hands to thaw by the heater in a practice room). Ok, I’ll admit that was a little dramatic (it was one hour of thaw-time), but the long summer, fall, and spring seasons in Oklahoma do not hurt one bit. And hey, at its best, it even kind of looks like Michigan!
Photo of a beautiful bike path I found near my house. I have already geeked out about this to many of my friends and family.
This relatively big move was prompted by one major impact on my life as a musician: my never-ending struggle with the tension and soreness of left shoulder, arm and hand. As a violinist and a left-handed person, this has been a source of frustration for as long as I can remember. While here, my goal is to pinpoint my problems, hopefully get them squared away, and figure out how to best communicate these issues to other people out there who might have similar struggles.
I am a little over a month into my studies with Professor Hal Grossman at the University of Oklahoma where I hold the illustrious title of “unclassified grad student” (which basically means not a student, but I get to take lessons and access the practice rooms). As I spoke about in my previous post a few months back, Mr. Grossman specializes in “identifying and relieving unwanted tension” which is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
The first few weeks were quite difficult because I had to essentially rebuild the muscles in the third and fourth finger of my left hand. This meant playing in very short bursts and stopping immediately if it felt I was straining too much. How I played before I started working those muscles I don’t know, but whatever I was doing was putting unnecessary stress on my thumb and my upper two fingers. I also didn’t fully understand what my left thumb was for or how it should be positioned on the side of the neck. I was pressing the finger print, rather than the side of the thumb, into the neck. Pressing the side of the thumb makes it less likely to grip and enables the patch of skin that is touching the violin to stay consistently loose and in line as you move across strings and change positions.
On top of this, my wrist had a tendency to jut out which was making it harder for my fingers to reach the strings. That was especially troubling to discover because I have been telling my students not to jut their wrists out in lessons for a long time, but apparently I had not been practicing what I preached.
One of the biggest challenges I’m facing is having to practice less than usual until my hand and arm have built the new muscles and my brain has processed this new approach. I have to be careful not to fall into the old, destructive patterns that were ingrained after all my years of practice. In some ways it feels like starting all over again, though I can feel myself progressing more rapidly.
Already in the last month I have started to notice a difference in my physical well-being. It helps that I’ve also made time for myself to do a daily yoga practice (check out Yoga With Adriene for the best YouTube yoga series I have found). I have also been careful to stretch for 5-10 minutes before and after I play, something that I wasn’t always consistent about before. Did you know that muscles actually get stronger and more responsive when you stretch them before an activity like playing an instrument? I didn’t.
I have a ways to go in playing completely pain-free, but with the quick progress I’ve already made I’m hopeful that this year will prolong my future as a violinist and help me to be a more effective teacher to my future students.
More updates to come as the journey continues…
Irving Penn (1971-2009)
“The Palm of Miles Davis”
New York – 1986
(A reminder of how important our body parts are as musicians)
I want to talk about a big part of my inspiration for starting a blog in the first place. Along with many musicians, I have dealt with muscle tension as a result of my violin playing for a long time. I have definitely been lucky compared to some people, my issues have never stopped me from playing altogether and they have never been so bad that I have had intense pain, but they are consistent and present even when I’m not holding my instrument. Recently more than ever, these issues have become a huge motivator for me in shaping my career. Though I wish I didn’t personally have to deal with these physical barriers, it has inspired me to pursue a life that involves helping others overcome these problems. I know there is a better way to educate musicians about these issues and I’ve only just begun to figure out how I can be of most use.
My first big step towards this is to go and learn from the best. Next year I will be moving to Norman, Oklahoma to study with Professor Hal Grossman, a teacher who specializes in helping violin students overcome playing related injuries. Mr. Grossman is the founder of The Grossman Method©, a method that was developed with the philosophy of “using larger muscle groups in the training of smaller muscle groups.” I am very excited to learn more from him next year because of his emphasis on the musician as athlete and his depth of knowledge regarding the anatomy of the human body. To learn more about The Grossman Method© you can visit his website: thegrossmanmethod.com.
It is my hope that through my study with Mr. Grossman, I will develop a better understanding of my own issues in order to help others overcome theirs. I am also very excited about the idea of truly enjoying performing again, because if I’m being honest it has been a while since I’ve had a good time on stage, especially in solo performances. Probably the most difficult side effect of my muscle tension problems has been my performance anxiety. Come to think of it, I’m not sure whether the performance anxiety is caused by my muscle tension or vice versa, but I know the two are related.
Without focusing too much on the frustrating aspects of my experience thus far, I want to mention a few things I have found that have helped:
Exercise: This may seem obvious, but as I mentioned in my first post it is not something that is emphasized enough to musicians. I try to stick to exercises that require low wrist impact, and am working on swallowing my pride in pilates or yoga classes if any move causes me discomfort and modifying. I have so far found pilates to be the best form of exercise for me because it is such a core strengthener, but I like yoga for the mental benefits. Since I’m poor and can’t pay for classes right now, I use YouTube videos which have been great. I also love riding my bike and walking (and not just because they are currently my primary mode of transport). I am very open to other types of exercise that have helped people, so please help me out here!
Stretching: I can’t stress this one enough, there is always time to stretch. No “I only have a half hour to practice” crap. For a long time I didn’t even know to stretch before playing my instrument. Now, I have a hard time practicing if I don’t. Just like any good athlete stretches before a practice or a game, so should we! Here are some great stretches that Mr. Grossman suggests doing before practicing or performing: stretches
Meditation: I still have a hard time getting myself to do this one, but I know how helpful it can be. There are a lot of great meditation apps out there that provide free guided meditations, like Headspace and Calm to name a couple. Here’s a list I found recently of a wide range of meditations that you can do: meditations. Another strategy I like to use is just listening to a piece I love without any other distractions; no score studying, no conducting, no stressing out about how difficult the violin part sounds, just listening and remembering why you love what you do. Here are a couple of my favorite pieces to do that with:
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 Movement II
Caroline Shaw – Entracte
to name a couple 🙂
Visualization: This is a great practice strategy that doesn’t even require an instrument. Visualization in this sense is when you imagine yourself in the exact situation you will be in when performing. I like to try and recreate the performance space to the best of my ability. If I know where I will be performing this helps a lot, but if it’s an audition at an unfamiliar location it helps to visualize myself in a classroom or auditorium. My favorite thing to do is physically go to the place I will be performing, or a similar type of place and walk through the performance without my instrument. I find that if I do this it’s easy to recreate the same physiological reaction (shaky, clammy, shortness of breath) that I have when I’m actually about to perform. I think the best defense is just to get comfortable with these feelings because they serve the purpose of keeping you on your toes in a performance, it just isn’t healthy to let them dominate you.
This is just a short list of strategies that I have found to have helped me control my performance anxiety and muscle tension issues. I am still searching for more so let me know what works best for you! I am so excited to continue studying these methods in greater detail so I can enhance my own experience as well as help others to improve theirs.
Thank you for reading!
I am a recent graduate of 6 years of music school, and 18 years of nonstop education since kindergarten. This is the first year without any of that in my life and so far it has been a terrifying, exhilarating and reflective period. Besides the fact that I have been able to catch up on a lot of Netflix, I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out my next steps and what the route I took in college means for my career. In this blog, I hope to sort out some of my own thoughts and share them in hopes that other people who are going through similar things may find something they can relate to.
I want to first start off by listing a few things I think should be required in music school based on my experiences and lack of experiences in the past 6 years. I am by no means claiming authority in this field or discounting the wonderful and valuable things I learned at both schools I attended. I’m sure both of my schools have good reasons for why they choose certain requirements for their students, but if I could build my dream music school, this is what I would want to see required of all students:
Improvisation classes: I’m thinking primarily about improvisation classes that involve my instrument, but I’m sure there would be value in a class that teaches all sorts of improv. After all, musicians are performers in many senses of the word and this should extend far beyond our instrument. Hey, I’m building my dream school, I won’t limit myself.
At my undergrad, I tried out an improvisation club my freshman year, and I will admit I did not continue with it past the first semester of school. I still regret this decision. The teacher was amazing and the group was outstanding, but I just felt so out of my league because I had not been exposed to a lot of improv in my life. The whole experience scared the hell out of me which was honestly no ones fault but my own. I set a very high bar for myself because of my years of experience playing my instrument in the classical sense, but when I fell short of my own expectations every time I tried to improvise I just gave up. I never gave myself the chance to learn and get better because I thought I should already be good. It’s similar to how I have felt every time I have tried to play an instrument other than violin, I think that because I’m a musician that I should easily pick up on new things, but everything in music takes practice. I think if I had been required to stick with improv for the entire 4 years, or even just for a year, I would have been a much better musician today. It is, of course, never too late for me to start doing some improv now, and I have a little since then, but I want to see schools requiring it earlier on so that people who wouldn’t normally be exposed to improvisation (i.e. classical music majors) can have the chance.
Anatomy classes: As musicians, we are athletes. There are no professional athletes out there who are not required to take an anatomy class in order to learn about how their bodies can work most efficiently in their craft. There should be no exceptions for musicians. According to Jennifer Johnson, author of “What Every Violinist Needs to Know About the Body,” 4 out of 10 professional musicians suffer from performance related injuries. Many of them take pain relieving drugs just to get through the day. This number is too high. I myself have been dealing with muscle tension issues for as long as I can remember. Many well intentioned music teachers will recommend different ways to deal with these problems, like taking a week off or taking some ibuprofen before playing. These are not necessarily bad ideas, but they are not the only solution.
Music teachers are not doctors and they already have a huge job trying to inspire their students to be technically proficient and musical week after week, something that I as a private violin instructor have only begun to understand the challenges of. I do think, however, that if schools start educating students early on about what is actually going on with their muscles as they are playing, we can begin to produce a new generation of performers and teachers who can incorporate more of this knowledge into their playing and educating. It is not yet something that is talked about enough because there are still too many musicians who have to play through their pain every day until one day they may have to stop playing altogether.
More Emphasis on Physical Health: This goes along with the anatomy class idea. I don’t think enough emphasis is placed on how you use your body in the most efficient, effective way possible. A lot of this starts with how physically healthy and strong you are as a person. I have only recently discovered that many physical problems I have faced as a musician could have been avoided had I developed better core and upper body strength. Of course there is still plenty of time for me to develop all of this, but I could have saved a lot of grief had I started earlier.
In college, I was very fortunate to have access to some great pilates and yoga classes that happened multiple times a week. Both of my schools also had free gym memberships for students which was fantastic. I’ll be honest though, I didn’t take advantage of any of these things as much as I should have. I’m especially kicking myself now because gym memberships and classes are so expensive once you get out of school! In undergrad I did a bit more because my campus was so small and getting to the gym was a lot more convenient than it was in my masters. My violin studio, including my teacher, even went to pilates together for a while. The problem I faced, however, was not so much getting myself to do these exercises, but getting myself to do them right. The teachers who taught the classes were great and did a fantastic job teaching but the classes were always so full that they didn’t have the ability to provide much individualized attention.
I imagine that if you’re on a football team or a soccer team you would have specific training for that particular sport. Those teams are also coached by people who have experience playing that sport. As musicians, we need other musicians coaching us through these exercises, or at least people who can address the specific needs of musicians. During my masters I took a “yoga for performers” class, which was a great example of this type of thing. The instructor was also an opera coach at the school of music and he had a lot of helpful modifications for yoga poses that put too much pressure on the wrists or fingers, something instrumentalists need to be careful with. I would love to see more of that with pilates classes, kickboxing classes, or anything else that could be potentially harmful to musicians if done incorrectly. I also want to see Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais and body mapping courses required in my dream school (I understand this is a lot to ask but still dreaming here).
Here is a really great article written by the Dean of the music school at my undergrad, Lawrence University. This school has a very special place in my heart because I think it is filled with faculty, staff and students who are looking to embody a lot of the things I have mentioned already: http://www.lawrence.edu/conservatory/deans_desk/inner_athlete
Public Speaking: I will be the first to say how terrified I still am of speaking in front of crowds. Playing in front of an audience is hard enough but at least I can hide behind my instrument. Speaking is such a vulnerable thing to do because it’s just you! I really admire vocalists because they have no instrument to hide behind, their instrument is literally them. Public speaking, just like performing, takes practice. When you look at any list of human fears, public speaking always makes the top 10 and often the top 3. It is up there with dying, being alone, heights, all things which seem like they should be in an entirely different category. Your life is not directly in danger when you are public speaking, you will not get struck by lightning if you mess up, something that I have heard teachers tell me time and time again when I have had performance related fears. But yet, I completely understand why this fear is so high on the list. In the moment, public speaking feels a bit like jumping out of a plane with no parachute (I imagine).
As musicians, we are often told how important it is to be able to verbally communicate with our audience in order to connect with them and break down the wall we often construct for ourselves on stage. It can also help to calm you down before you have to play, that is if you have gotten to a comfortable enough level with speaking in the first place. In my experience, there wasn’t a whole lot of emphasis on this in my education. I had great teachers that would encourage it, but putting it into practice didn’t happen a ton unless you made it happen for yourself. Like I said before, the only way to get better at this is to do it, so of course you have to take some responsibility to make that happen, but I honestly think I could have taken an entire class specifically on talking to an audience.
Education Classes for Performance Majors: I was really lucky in my undergrad to take a fantastic music education class. I was hesitant to enroll at first because it was not a required area for my major, but being a part of that class turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. As performers, I think that we often don’t realize how important it is to be able to teach the skill that we spend hours every day doing. Not only does teaching help the music world to grow, it also makes you think more holistically about what you are doing and why you are doing it. In a world where we spend a lot of time in a small room trying to master our craft, it’s important to take a step back and force yourself to verbally communicate your skills in a way that someone who is learning it for the first time or still developing as a player can relate to.
The class I took was a general music education class which was especially interesting and valuable for me. I have never planned on being a public education teacher (and honestly I have so much admiration for people who choose that path), but the skills I learned in that class helped me to understand how to think about music as a holistic idea and not as something that just pertained to my instrument. These ideas inspired me to include more general music teaching techniques to my private violin/viola studio, and though I am still developing my skills as a teacher, I hope to continue expanding on this idea. Teaching has only helped me as a performer and I would love to see more education classes geared towards performance majors because one way or another it is an important part of any musicians career.
This list is just the beginning. But I wanted to start by throwing out some of these ideas because I find them to be extremely valuable and underrated topics. While trying to craft my career, I need to prioritize what is most important to me and what I can do to inspire this type of thinking to develop happier, healthier musicians for the future, and while I’m at it, helping myself to look at music from a healthier perspective too. If you made it this far, thank you for reading, and please feel free to expand on these ideas or introduce new ones. I want this to be an open conversation because, again, I’m only just beginning to sort these things out.
Along with many musicians, I have dealt with muscle tension as a result of my violin playing for a long time. I hope that this blog will be useful to those dealing with similar issues as I talk through my ongoing journey to play my instrument pain free.