Janet Horvath: On Preventing Overuse Injuries and Playing Pain-Free
By Noa Kageyama, Ph.D.
Summer festivals were always the highlight of my year.
Sure, there was more practicing, rehearsing, and playing to do than during the school year, but none of this ever felt like work when it was summertime. Getting to play awesome music alongside dedicated and talented musicians in orchestra and ensemble rehearsals, studio classes, and lessons, made for tons of inspiration and many lifelong memories.
Not to mention all the fun times hanging out with old and new friends, and engaging in various “this-is-probably-not-a-good-idea-but-what-the-heck-it’s-summer” escapades (like hiking up a mountain in the dark to see the sunrise, only to arrive at the summit, discover that it’s a completely overcast day, and realize that nobody ever thought to check the weather forecast…).
However, there was one thing – which almost invariably happened to at least one person each summer – that totally rained on the parade of sunshine and unicorns, threw a giant monkey wrench into the summer and made for a difficult, frustrating, and even isolating experience.
An “overuse” or “repetitive stress injury.”
So what causes these injuries in the first place? Are they preventable? Or is the answer simply to play less? Is there something we could be doing differently, to ensure we aren’t putting ourselves at risk?
Foam rollers (mentioned at 31:45). And if you’re asking yourself if you really need one, well, I used to think foam rollers were just the latest silly gym fad, but now that I have one, I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s the best way to massage out tight muscles, without actually getting a massage. There are lots of foam rollers available, many of which look pretty snazzy and high-tech. But I actually prefer the plain black 36-inch rollers, like this one:
Umm…and why is this stretch so important? Well, the following video shows what happens with the shoulders when the pectoral muscles get tight. And if you don’t have a foam roller, the video also explains how to stretch these muscles with just a wall.
How to stretch your chest @ATHLEAN-X (and just FYI, he uses the f-word totally unexpectedly somewhere near the middle, so maybe keep the volume down if you’re in a public place and don’t want to get the stink eye from a stranger…)
The Performing Arts Medicine Association maintains a referral database of health care providers and specialists who may have more experience with and a better understanding of the unique challenges musicians face:
Performance psychologist and Juilliard alumnus & faculty member Noa Kageyama teaches musicians how to beat performance anxiety and play their best under pressure through live classes, coachings, and an online home-study course. Based in NYC, he is married to a terrific pianist, has two hilarious kids, and is a wee bit obsessed with technology and all things Apple.
After Countless Hours of Practice, Why Are Performances Still so Hit or Miss?
It’s not a talent issue. And that rush of adrenaline and emotional roller coaster you experience before performances is totally normal too.
Performing at the upper ranges of your ability under pressure is a unique skill – one that requires specific mental skills and a few tweaks in your approach to practicing. Elite athletes have been learning these techniques for decades; if nerves and self-doubt have been recurring obstacles in your performances, I’d like to help you do the same.
Click below to discover the 7 skills that are characteristic of top performers. Learn how you can develop these into strengths of your own. And begin to see tangible improvements in your playing that transfer to the stage.