The main causative factors in musicians injuries are:
Long hours of practice without adequate breaks leads to exhausted muscles which then tighten and lose their ability to play even for short periods without pain. The muscles lose reflex speed, this in turn results in poor performances.
Intense rehearsals will often trigger symptoms. Muscles get tired, stiff and painful. underlying injuries become aggravated. There are various' killer' composers out there. Long operas, Rachmaninov with wide stretches for octaves on the piano, Takemitsu with his chromatic and complex syncopatory patterns. Taverner with his long sustenatos for the violin. Session musicians having to repeat the same passage many times over.
When a musician attempts to play a new piece of music they have to push beyond previous limits. Composers have their own ways of playing their particular instrument and, thus their compositions can require playing techniques which are alien to the student.
Poor quality instruments
Poor instrument quality and set-up will create difficulties. When we are learning an instrument we will soon get to the limits of a poor instrument. The student will often blame themselves rather than realize that their instrument is holding them back. Strain of muscles and joints can ensue whilst perfecting the performance.
Long, late night journeys
Exhaustion, illnesses, muscle fatigue are to be avoided so planning trips is essential to ensure comfort and rest.
Poor furnishings at home
Slumping into deep sofas is very detrimental to the spine. especially if the musician can play their instrument whilst seated e.g. guitar.
Muscles and joints do not like the cold. They tighten and stiffen and become more prone to strain and fatigue.
Falls and sprains
Such injuries can take a long time to repair themselves. Remnants of childhood sprains and fractures can persist into adulthood. They are very influential and constitute 'weak' areas.
We are almost all water, muscles especially. If we go without H20 for around 4 days we die! We are like a plant which needs watering daily or it droops. Our brain is the most needy of hydration, without it we become slow and dumb, energy less and dissolute.
Physios' and trainers can often give damaging exercises. Their knowledge is only partial, their therapy too standardized. They interpret 'weakness' with proneness to injury and 'strength with' immunity from injury. Thus they go about strengthening 'weak 'areas and make the already tense muscles causing the symptom even tenser. The answer is to determine the tone of the muscles involved using experienced palpation, then softening and lengthening them.
Poor playing technique
When we first begin playing an instrument it is usually at a young age, anywhere from 3 years old to 18, peaking at around 8 years and 14 years of age. When we first start we are tense and confused. As we become more accustomed we free-up and relax our grip more. However some of those childhood tension patterns can persist as either habit and/or muscle tension patterns in the hands and forearms. Those persistent patterns will limit our performance abilities later on.
Poor eyesight and dyslexia
You need good eyesight and lighting to read music. In cases of dyslexia notes can become jumbled thus proving difficult to read and even more difficult to play and learn. Try larger print. A pink or light blue background will also help.
Lifting and carrying heavy equipment causes tendon and ligament strain. Guitar amplifiers are a good example of what to avoid carrying. Drum sets too. Get help from some nearby Hercules if possible. Don't be macho.
While most activities we do use only a few areas of our brains at one time, playing a musical instrument energetically fires off millions of nerve impulses, and creates new brain cells.
Recently, brain researchers monitored people hooked up to fMRI's, functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners, and PET, positron emission technology scanners, while they performed various activities.
When participants listened to music, the researchers likened the effect to watching fireworks go off over the entire brain, a different area firing in response to different elements in the music. Some parts of the brain responded to the melody, others to the rhythm, and other parts seemed to isolate, and respond to, random musical patterns - such as improvised guitar riff solos.
Then, the brain seemed to synthesize all the different parts into a unified musical event. Remarkably, the brain performs all these tasks in the first few seconds the listener perceives the music. A split second later, the listener has the melody and rhythm of the music down and is tapping their toe or fingers, swaying their head, or dancing along to it.
But, when the researchers studied people actually playing musical instruments, many more areas of the brain lit up, as if a symphony of brain lights were playing in amazingly fast sequences.
Both hemispheres perform a kind of "ping pong game" of message relaying back and forth between them to accomplish the activity. So, when you first start playing a musical instrument, your brain starts to create a whole new network of nerve pathways to be used for messaging between each hemisphere. This actually increases, and strengthens, the brain's corpus callosum, the "bridge" between the two hemispheres. The more you practice playing a musical instrument, the more skilled you become at solving other problems in academic and social settings.
In addition, because playing an instrument also involves understanding music's emotional content and message, your brain must further develop its higher, executive functions. This includes interlinking the tasks ofplanning, strategizing, attention to detail, cognitive and emotional skills. These same skills also help all memory functions.
The researchers also found that musicians develop particularly enhanced memory skills. They found that most musicians have the ability to create, store and retrieve memories more easily.They are subconsciously able to assign "tags" to bits of memory such as contextual, audio,and emotional.
In addition, guitarists, in general, seem to have specific intuitive perceptual capabilities that other musicians may not. In a 2012 study out of Berlin , researchers found that 12 pairs of guitarists could subconsciously "brain synch" with each other just prior to playing their designated music. They intuitively knew, it seemed, what the other guitarist would play.
In summary, playing an instrument greatly increases your brain's overall functioning and health in general. It encourages, and strengthens, the connection between the 2 sides of your brain and their relay of messages. So, the more you play, the more "plastic", or capable of growth, in cognition, perception, detail and spatial orientation, your brain becomes. In short, playing an instrument makes you smarter and keeps your brain cells energetically developing and firing. So,go get out your instrument and turn those brain lights on!
Rhythm and melody create the foundations for mental activity later in life - watch this: