Tips For Keyboard Players & Drummers
Ergonomic seated positionTake a look at the ideal ergonomic position for a computer user. Assess your position at the piano or drums using the standard keyboard assessment. It is important to consider:
- Is your body relaxed?
- Is your music at the correct height?
- Is your seat height correct?
- Are you sitting upright?
- Are you reaching forward with rounded shoulders to play?
Many keyboard players who develop finger and hand pain do so because they use their fingers to press harder to increase depth of sound. To reduce hand strain when you are playing individual base notes, try dropping your hand from a higher position above the keyboard; this uses gravity and the stronger muscles of the shoulder and arm to strike the keyboard with more force, without stressing the small muscles of the hand. You will find the resonances you produce sound better too. When you are playing a run of notes, make sure that your knuckles are higher than your fingers as this allows the fingers to strike the keyboard without straining.
To reduce the stresses for Drummers, take a look at the Moellar Technique, which will help you to improve your power, accents and speed without stressing your body unduly.
Tips For Violinists & Viola Players
Mental rehearsal and finger practice (with plucking) on your violin fingerboard (with your violin tucked under your opposite arm like a banjo) are healthy habits which rest your body whilst you practice.
Practicing with your chin and shoulder muscles tightened to support your instrument, can shorten your muscles (lopsidedly) on the side of your neck rest and can (over time) change the level of your shoulder. You must stretch these muscles out to prevent this from becoming a problem. Furthermore, the neck joints on the side of your instrument normally stiffen over time, so get them loosened out by a Physio to prevent them from compressing the nerves and causing arm pain.
Work with 2 or more neck rests. This will give your body a rest from working in one set position which can alter the stresses on your neck muscles and joints.
A Physio can mobilise your joints, use Deep Tissue Massage to loosen out your stiff muscles and give you exercises to break up these strains so you are less likely to develop pain. We will also help you to get your posture sorted out to reduce your pain.
Tips For Wind Instrumentalists and Instruments Held in Front of Your Body
Constantly holding or supporting the weight of your instrument in front of your body for long periods will fatigue the muscles which hold your posture in check.
You need to improve the control of the muscles in your middle and lower back, to improve your support here so your strain is managed and it is easier to keep upright when you play. Most Wind Players will need Physio to reverse the physical changes of tight muscles and stiff joints which built up over years. As with singers, you need to have good muscular control of your abdomen and pelvic floor to enable you to take deep breaths and control the exhale. A good upright posture will assist in your ability here.
A Physio can mobilise your joints, use Deep Tissue Massage to loosen out your stiff muscles and give you exercises to help you control your posture and reduce your pain.
Tips for Vocalists
If you sing with your chin jutting forward it breaks your column of air and strains your throat. Try singing with your chin jutting fully forward, then try again with your neck long and lengthened out. Compare the effect of your posture on the sound of your voice and your ability to reach the higher notes.
Good posture is an essential part of singing well and can significantly reduce the strain on your voice. Not only that, when you have good upright posture, you will be able to take in deeper breaths and sustain longer notes with ease.
Not only that, it is important for a singer to have good abdominal and pelvic floor muscle control. Both give essential support, helping to control your column of air whilst lessening the strain on your throat when you increase volume and reach the higher notes.
Physiotherapy helps you to keep loose in the neck and shoulders so that keeping your posture becomes easy.