A holistic approach to the treatment musicians’ problems 1

I remember asking Ross Daly, an Irish multi-instrumentalist who lives in Crete, if he ever gets aches and pains from his playing. He told me that he overcame this problem many years ago when he had to play, for the first time, the Cretan lyra for the celebrations following a traditional Cretan wedding. He had to play for three consecutive days non stop! By the way you could enjoy his playing here:

He was quite lucky, as at that time I new quite a few musicians that were suffering from pains in various degrees although the were practicing only 2-3 hours a day. I was in a similar situation a year before I met Ross, but things changed for me with the help of my last cello teacher D and with having Alexander lessons.

I remember meeting one of D’s pupils one evening and as we were talking she told me that practicing for her was a way of relaxing and feeling good! She told me that she practices before going to bed and she always has a good sleep! I was so impressed, that I asked D to give me a lesson and following this I became his pupil. For the following years I never developed any pains although I was practicing up to six hours per day! D never taught me that successful practicing is based mainly on external things, like the way of holding the bow, sitting on the chair, position of the wrist etc. He taught me how to think, he introduced me to basic laws of nature that if we do not respect we end up in trouble!

In my opinion good reaction to a chronic pain that troubles you, makes your playing difficult, stops you to enjoy music is to first accept the problem, to observe it! What do you really feel? Where? Since when? Do you remember how it started? Is there anything that relieve the pain, is there anything that makes it worse? You could write these and any other detail, down, if it helps you to become more aware!

Then communicate, clearly, your problem to someone that you respect-trust! Your teacher, a friend, a colleague etc. Use your intuition to discriminate the helpful from the non-helpful hints! I think it is important to go to the root of the problem, temporary relief is good but does not resolve the problem!

What will follow will be the right plan of action, but I will write about this in my next few posts!




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