Musicians are top athletes …
… those were the words a top surgeon once said to me. He told me: “I’m specialized in operating top atheletes … and professional musicians. Musicians are on the same boat as top atheletes.”
Well, you might be reading this article because the top title made you feel awkard? So you’re also an idiot, just like me 😉 ? No offense, but OK now you’re here anyway, continue reading as I personally think this is an important issue! Unfortunately, you sometimes read it in the news … young sportsman suffers health issues or serious injuries. And then everyone starts shouting : “Mandatory regular medical check-up for sports people now!”. They’re right, but no one’s talking about musicians, although I think musicians are also top athletes too! Playing music at a professional level is similar to top sports. No, I’m not a top sprinter or a soccer player, but yes as a musician you (over)load your body just like top athletes do.
Don’t go beyond human limits!
No pain no gain we all laugh sometimes, but pain is a signal from your body telling you that you’re going above human limits and you should stop exercising. You may push your personal limits a bit, that’s the way to improve and develope yourself. But respect the human limits, meaning don’t push yourself too far beyond your limits. If not you will damage your body in short and long term. When you’re feeling pain and your body says stop, well then just stop! Pushing through the pain and continue practicing? That’s just stupid! It’s your choice, but you may be out-of-business for months, years, or even worse, forever. Listen to your body and tell yourself that it’s enough for today, or, I don’t play music and guitar for a couple of days.
Health check-up at music schools.
Something I missed at the music school, is medical supervision for music students. Here at the Belgian music school there was not even a word about health and the physical strain of the body for musicians, seemed like as if it was all taboo. If I complained about pain, I got a big applause: “Well that’s because you practiced very well!” Sounded cool back then, but now I realize it was dumb as hell. At Musicians Institute Hollywood in Los Angeles, a lot of attention was paid to this. No matter what your opinion is about Americans, but I have experienced that in many ways they are 50 years ahead of us! At that music school it was absolutely not a taboo when a music teacher was struggling with his health, so that the wannabe musicians in class could also see the bad sides of playing music.
Rest does NOT equal rust!
Your body needs rest to recover, don’t overdo it. Not listening to your body will harm you. Let me give you an example of one of my favorite guitar teachers Ken. He’s been “out” for 6 months because of tingling and impaired feeling in his left hand. A real nightmare for a top of the bill metal shredder! Result: surgery on pinched back nerves … and 6 months no guitar playing! But in short: thank God, he recovered completely! Another story about a guitar teacher of mine, probably the best shredder, sweeping and fusion guitarist in the world, suffered from arthrosis and arthritis. Just because he practiced too many hours a day. Well he’s still playing the guitar these days, but no shredding or sweeping anymore. He can even hardly play barre chords anymore. Sad but true, but his top guitar period is game over.
Pain is never normal!
At Musicians Institute there was also a lesson about which instrument gives which load to the body, and we also got specific exercises and two clear messages: 1. pain is NOT normal, stop playing and consult a physician, 2. one hour of guitar practice (or other instruments) = 50 minutes of playing + 10 minutes of physical exercises. Special yoga classes were also given for mental relaxation: a healthy mind in a healthy body. But that’s some stuff I’ll cover in another blog article.
My conclusion: “No Pain no gain” is just a proverb, don’t take it literally!
Note that I’m writing these blog articles from my personal experience, my point of view and my personal opinion. If you don’t agree with me, that’s OK! Personal opinions is what makes every human unique. Feel free leaving a comment or your vision about this subject on the HYBR!D PARK forum!
Do you have suggestions, questions, ideas, or tips for a blog article? Let me know using the SUBMIT QUESTION form.
Baustein aka Manic Youth
Photo credits : Pexels victor-freitas, cottonbro