“What do you do every day to avoid playing injuries?”
The Violin Channel recently caught up with 30+ of the world’s top string players to find out …
Australian VC Artist Violinist, Ray Chen:
"I think proper stretching is the universal answer to injury prevention ... I particularly focus on the areas around my neck and shoulders ... and forearms and wrists ..."
German-Japanese Concert Violinist, Arabella Steinbacher:
"I try not to practice too much ... and I try to run and do yoga every morning ..."
American Violinist, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg:
"Stretch, stretch, stretch ... also ... I like to run my hands under hot water to warm them up before playing ..."
Colburn School of Music Violin Professor and Co-Director of String Chamber Music, Martin Beaver:
"I try to practice what I preach to my students in terms of stretching, warming up and monitoring my posture ... and levels of physical stress while playing"
American Violinist, Stephanie Chase:
"I play with as little physical tension as possible ... playing with energy and passion does not necessarily require using many muscles ... I am fortunate that I have never suffered from a major injury ..."
Russian-born Violinist, Dmitry Sitkovetsky:
"I get regular massages and acupuncture treatments ... as I often conduct and play, it’s even more important to keep fit ... I walk a lot - but never run"
Canadian Violinist, Lara St John:
"I always try to play and practice relaxed ..."
VC Artist Violinist, Stefan Jackiw:
"I try to practice in small chunks and do some stretching during the breaks ... most importantly, I try to listen to my body and recognize when it's asking for a rest ... I highly recommend time away from the instrument ..."
VC Artist Violinist, Augustin Hadelich:
"I always make sure to warm up slowly and take it easy for the first 10-15 minutes ... if my hands are cold from walking outside, I always warm them first before playing"
British Violinist, Chloe Hanslip:
"I usually warm up with passages from pieces I’m working on ... I also try to go for a walk everyday and really move my arms to release any tension I may have acquired throughout the day"
Australian Funster, TwoSet Violinist, Eddy ‘Shreddy’ Chen:
“Stretch ... and shoulder circles - they're the best!“
Australian Funster, TwoSet Violinist, Brett ‘Bang’ Yang:
“Not practice .... JOKES .... I stretch”
Korean-American Violinist and New England Conservatory faculty member, Soovin Kim:
"Practice ... relax ... with a lot of breaks"
Dutch Violinist, Noa Wildschut:
"Actually I don’t do anything in particular ... but I think it’s always important to listen to your body ... if you feel pain, then don’t keep playing on"
Chinese-Cuban-American Cellist Sophia Bacelar:
London Symphony Orchestra First Violinist “Queen of Bling”, Maxine Kwok-Adams:
"Unfortunately I'm really bad at remembering to stretch and warm up/warm down the muscles ... so I rely on my heavy lifting when shopping and my weekly tap dance lessons to keep my body healthy"
VC Artist Violinist, Paul Huang:
"A good warm up before practicing ... staying healthy ... and avoid any funny movements in my day to day life"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Kerson Leong:
"I’ve learnt to be acutely aware of the role each part of my body is playing at all times ... especially during practice sessions"
VC Artist Cellist, Kian Soltani:
"I warm up with scales every day ... no exceptions ..."
Canadian VC Young Artist Violinist, Timothy Chooi:
"I stretch for a good 5 minutes before each morning's practice ... I also make a tea with honey and lemon to make my body warm from the inside out"
VC Rising Star, Kevin Miura:
"I definitely try to stay aware of and listen to my body ... I’d much rather take a short break than hurt something"
VC Young Artist Cellist, Aurélien Pascal:
"It's important for me to start my practice as if I were a debutant ... starting with open strings then putting one finger slowly after another ... then scales and arpeggios ... in other words building every day a new and fresh technique"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Nathan Meltzer:
"Before starting to practice, and for about 10 minutes every hour, I do a series of mobility and flexibility exercises ... I roll out my back with a tennis ball, stretch out my shoulders and chest with an old pole, and use a basketball to press open my fingers and roll my wrists ... I've only been doing this for about a year, but it's been a huge help"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Marc Bouchkov:
"I don’t do anything regularly, but whenever I feel the smallest unusual pain, weird feeling or even tickle ... I stop, stretch and rest until it goes away"
VC Artist Violinist, Jennifer Pike:
"Drink plenty of water ... and don't underestimate the power of mental practice ... like reading the score"
VC Rising Star Violinist, Yesong Sophie Lee:
"Firstly, I don't let my brother go anywhere near me when he's practicing taekwondo ... I always try to make sure I'm relaxed while playing ... and I try to stretch and do a few yoga poses each day"
Ariel Quartet Violinist, Gershon Gerchikov:
"Practice slowly ... and avoid mindless practicing like the plague"
VC Artist Dover Quartet Violist, Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt:
"For me the best thing for avoiding injuries has been yoga ... aside from how much stronger and more supportive my neck and spine muscles are, I’ve also been able to train my brain in efficiency of effort ... with yoga, you need to keep a calm mind even when exerting other muscles, so it’s helped me immensely in ridding myself of unnecessary extra tension"
VC Rising Star Violinist, María Dueñas:
"For me, it's important to go swimming as often as possible ... and do yoga"
VC Young Artist Violist, Timothy Ridout:
"I don't have a particular routine ... but I find that starting the day with slow scales and using them as an opportunity to focus on being as relaxed as possible is very useful"
VC Young Artist Violinist, Fedor Rudin:
"There's nothing special I do every day ... but I always stretch before playing and I swim a few times a week to help maintain my posture and to strengthen the muscles we use for playing"
VC Artist Violinist, Benjamin Beilman:
"I try to always stay aware of what's happening with my body ... I find running is great ... and some weightlifting and yoga"