RSI Makes Musicians Face The Music

An article in the Miami Herald (When Sonatas Strike Back) discusses Repetitive Strain Injuries that can affect classical musicians, listing some pieces that are especially stressful on the players. These “killer tunes” include Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, Ravel’s Bolero, Handel’s Messiah, and works by Tchaikovsky and John Adams.

The article includes some suggestions for musicians to help avoid RSI pain:

  • Warm up and cool down
  • Vary your repertoire so you use different muscle groups
  • Stretch unobtrusively while on stage when you’re not playing
  • Uncurl your arms and let them hang for a minute during practice
  • Roll the shoulders and thumbs to relieve tension
  • For every 50 minutes of practice, take a 10-minute break
  • Reduce practice intensity prior to an audition or performance

Finally, the article concludes with a plug for Janet Horvath’s book, Playing (less) Hurt: An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians, from which the suggestions were taken.

Randy Rasa

Randy is an engineer/programmer/web designer who has suffered from repetitive strain injury off and on for over a decade.

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