Guitarlincs - Free Guitar Music

Musician's Worst Nightmare

In a world where young musicians, especially guitarists, are judged chiefly on prowess it is all to easy for the young player to develop serious injury that stops their career in its tracks overnight. This is a problem that is completely avoidable and usually treatable - but the best cure is not the easiest one to tolerate - time off playing!



How do I know? I know from many years teaching and playing experience, seeing teenage guitarists get into trouble because they wouldn't listen to technical advice from teachers, and a horrible bout of RSI myself. How did I cure it? How would I avoid it? What do I tell the brightest and the best? Do they listen? Read on! Chances are if you are here you already have the makings of a problem or know someone who has. I hope this lens will help. Or perhaps you have a tip you can pass on? This is a place where musicians can share their nightmare and the way out from it!



- I Really Count Music Mousepad mousepad
I Really Count Music Mousepad by whirligigllp

If you are here because you have developed an injury then you can still play your part in educating others to avoid it. If you are here because you are keen to prevent yourself or your friends developing hand problems you are doing yourself a big favour! Avoid developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Bursitis, Tenosynovitis or plain old Repetitive Strain Injury in the first instance and you will save yourself months or even years of frustration, pain and inability to perform at your best. Carpal Tunnel sucks bigtime and is not prevented by bravado!

 

 

 

Avoidng Repetitive Strain Injury

Ever stopped to think what is the busiest part of the human body? What part of the body needs the biggest brain area? It's not the eyes, ears or the mouth. Not the legs even... It is the human hand! The hand is probably what makes us more special as a species than we even think. Other animals do think and feel, can work things out, do communicate in spoken language and sound - some even use tools - but the sensitive human hand differentiates us from any other species!

TH!NK print
TH!NK by Neomania



You use your hands ALL the time. You write, type, hold books to read, open doors, manipulate pens, keys and tools, gesticulate to other people, eat with knife and fork - you name it! Do the hands EVER rest? Probably only when we sleep and then they are probably held in a cramped position.

So next time you go from two hours gaming on the computer to three hours playing the piano or the guitar after putting in six hours at the office with computer keyboard and telephone, think about your hands. They deserve a rest and a massage because without them you would be in trouble!

Imperfect Practice Makes Painful

If you have a teacher who is a good role model they will pay close attention to posture. Practising for hours with bad technique is the biggest cause of hand injury going!

Slow Practice Makes Perfect

When you learn anything new, take it slowly. Think about hand positions, posture, breathing, correct fingering. Avoid stumbling through at a pace you find diffcult. Playing too fast causes stress and strain and makes mistakes permanent too!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Got Pain? NO GAIN!

Pain is nature's way of telling you to STOP. Whether that is an extra half an hour's scale practice at breakneck speed or sticking your hand into boiling water, the message from your nerves is STOP. Listen to that message!

Warm Up, Wind Down!

Playing with cold hands is as bad as trying to run a sprint without warming up. Something can and probably will snap eventually! Run your hands under warm water, massage your forearms with gentle thumb circles, do gentle slow exercises focusing on mobility and perfect hand position. After the "race" you need to wind down too. Same with practising. Relax....

Be A Musician, Not A Competitor

Everyone learns at a different pace. Some musicians play faster than others, some focus on the personality of their music and focus on expression and tone. IT'S ALL GOOD! The number of notes per minute is not the sole indicator of skill. Be patient, be a survivor, take your time, work on it quietly, don't be drawn into showing off.

Give Yourself A Break

Don't be a slavedriver when it comes to practising. Let your hands recover. Walk around the room. Make a coffee. Read a book. Watch TV. Have a snack.....

Set Sensible Goals, Make Longterm Plans

Learning any skill takes time, planning and evaluation. Musicians develop fine motor skills over many years and over that time they also develop their listening and interpreting too. Be patient with yourself!

Even Experienced Players Develop problems

I Fancy The Bassist mug
I Fancy The Bassist by toxiferous

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has laid many professional musicians low for years and it prevented me playing for eighteen months. My basic guitar technique was very good, but I did something foolish. After a two week lay-off, I played the bass for four hours non-stop on a Winter evening!

I was not adequately warmed up, I was rusty too. As a bass player, I had a tendency to play aggressively anyway. The result was pain and swelling that would not go away. The choices my doctor presented to me were an operation which would weaken my wrist even if successful or a lay off until I went 36 hours painfree. I never quite made it to 36 - 18 months later I got so frustrated that I developed a new way of playing without the frethand thumb. This was a very light pressure technique and eventually I added the thumb again - but with zero pressure!

Get A Teacher!

In the world of Classical music even the best players in the world take lessons. They call them Master Classes. Why do they need them? Sometimes you need another skilled musician, a professional player or a professional educator, to give you pointers how you can improve. Nobody is so perfect they can't benefit from advice from an expert. Even if your expertise is Rock or Jazz there will be somebody you can turn to to watch your playing style and point out problem areas. Remember, the old guys might not be trendy, good-looking or fast, but they survived the course and they know the obstacles too....

- Electric guitar mousepad - - - Bass mousepad - - - - Piano mousepad -

(All these great mosepads are by hsldesign, clicking on any picture will take you to hsldesign's store where you can vote or buy them)

Exercises For Wrist Problems

Whatever your style of music, you can benefit from these guys' advice. Take a break, have a coffee, and learn exercises you can try before you risk an operation!

JAZZ SAX, KEYBOARD, FLYING V COFFEE CUP mug
JAZZ SAX, KEYBOARD, FLYING V COFFEE CUP by gottapaint