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  • #11144 Reply

    Mark Woodyatt

    I typically take care of my back first and foremost. As players of the violin typically can develop all sorts of physical problems, there are myriad preventative excercises and stretches that can be implemented. Most importantly, what are they? Secondly, when is the best time to do these? I don’t have a scientific answer for you, and this is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any ailments or diseases. With that said, my disclaimer is simply for my protection.
    In my opinion, every one has a unique body that requires specific stretches based on many factors. However, certain stretches are universal, and many may be subjectively specific to a persons needs, say, to compensate for overuse or an injury.
    Without getting to much into what I do yet, I invite you to Participare by exploring what we know, what we’ve discovered works for us individually, and sharing in some of the resources we’ve found.
    Body alignment is key in preventing fatigue, and in proper stretching. The ancient practice of Yoga, in its purest form, was discovered and practiced by “Westerner” violinist Yehudi Menuhin to aid in his ability to play violin after suffering from an injury in his teens. His BBC sessions are a valuable and insightful resource which I will post below.
    Before discovering, practicing and incorporatin Yin Yoga, Menuhin’s methods, Feldenkreis Method and The Taubman Method, I experienced and suffered from tendinitis, muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Largely, this was due to poor alignment and lack of knowledge in how to stretch properly.
    Although it may be helpful to stretch before playing, it’s not usually recommended. I’d play for a few minutes and warm up slowly. I’ll extend on this later.

    #11836 Reply


    I’m quite curious about this as well. I’ve got a degenerative disease in my spine, already had 2 surgeries so as you can imagine if i can do something to help prevent further damage i really need to.

    #11889 Reply

    William Bickerstaff

    I have degenerative disk disorder in my spine which I have been told is inoperable. If I don’t flex and stretch a bit before I practice, I hurt. Joanna has an exercise routine… lemme see if I can find it and post it here. Do your stretches slowly to prevent injury. My doctor recommended these sort of exercises

    #14251 Reply

    I think stretching is a good idea, it helps with my back and shoulders.

    #14257 Reply

    Dianne Adkins

    I saw this video posted on the facebook page. It’s very thorough and very good to do some sort of stretching, especially if you’re going to have a long session or if you have physical challenges. In addition to stretching you can do ‘shake outs’ in between, during practice sessions. So if you’re practicing a challenging fingering, doing a lot of repetitions and you start to feel some pain/ tension, stop and drop the left hand down so blood flow can return to the fingers and vigorously shake out the hand and fingers.

    Whenever and where ever you feel pain or tensions building during practice, stop and move that part of the body. For tense shoulders, do circles in the air with your elbows. This forces the muscles around the shoulders to expand and relax, allowing blood flow and thus, oxygen to return to that area. For the violin hand, in addition to ‘shake outs’, I find that turning the arm in the opposite direction stretches tired and over stressed muscles. For playing, the left arm twists counter clockwise and the hand is up near the face. So, to relax it, turn the arm clockwise and hold the hand down to your side.

    For tension in the back, we want to attempt to pull the shoulder blades apart and stretch the spine. So bending over with arms dangling toward the floor, reaching… will pull the shoulder blades apart. Keep the head down with chin pulling toward the chest, shoulders rolled forward to fully stretch the spine.

    A good warm up stretch routine is very useful and wise. It will help you relax while practicing and help prevent injury. Intermittent ‘shake outs’ and stretches or opposing actions will release tension brought on by challenges to the fingers, arms, neck, back and spine.

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Reply To: A discussion about stretching before & after playing. Beneficial or detrimental.
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