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Hello body, I'm listening!

Hello body, I'm listening! Or at least I thought I was... 

I woke up this morning with terrible neck and shoulder pain. I've had this pain once before - last fall, during a super stressful month when I definitely wasn't taking care of my physical body and well-being. In addition to stress and overwork, I ended up discovering that my posture while playing (the violin) had been compromised which I am sure led to even more tension and pain. 

I ended up spending multiple months with an amazing physical therapist at Pivot Physical Therapy here in Pittsburgh and, as a result, was feeling stronger in my upper body, neck, and shoulders.

I've spent the past year re-focusing on my personal fitness and making it a goal to be more consistent in maintaining - and maybe even improving! - my strength and agility. As a result, I've been happier in my body AND in my mind than I have been in a long time.

So, what happened to my neck?!

It's takes constant effort and awareness to listen to one's body, especially as we grow and move through life, always with stressors and distractions. Those stretches and strengthening exercises (should I share some of them?) that have been working for me for the past year might need an update. My body is clearly asking me for something else! In addition, I've been learning a lot of music recently that is new to me which, I have found, causes me to hold unnecessary tension in my neck and face.

For musicians especially, our body and mind awareness is of the utmost importance in order to consistently execute in our daily practice as well as on stage and in auditions.

Would you like to know what I am doing to help my neck? What do you do to keep your body and mind in the best possibly shape?

I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts!

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Frances Duff
Frances Duff
Sep 06, 2019

My phone wouldn’t let me comment on the Physical/neck post. So this is in response to that post: Over my 55+ years as a string player, different physical issues have turned up that I conscientiously addressed in order to be able to

keep playing: first my hip, then back, then shoulder. I remember each debility very clearly and who I sought for help. So many of my colleagues have had to stop playing due to injuries. Yes it does take persistent vigilance. I am grateful that I can still play music on my chosen instrument.

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