musicians, like top-level athletes, use their bodies,
but who is aware of this? What are the options if a problem occurs?
Whom to consult? Many musicians don’t know and wonder, sometimes
before finding answers to their questions.
A lot of musicians who suffer feel guilty. They feel vulnerable and
to admit that they are injured and can’t play anymore. Quite the
of athletes, who rarely hide their injuries, agree to stop if necessary,
hesitate to seek medical help!
On the other hand, whenever I state my profession, most people are astonished:
“Physiotherapist for musicians? I didn’t know such a profession
say, “Musicians must have very strong hands.” Granted,
our profession is not
well known, but it has been attracting more public attention since some
the most famous musicians have agreed to speak openly about their physical
Slowly but surely attitudes are changing. More and more musicians are
questions about their bodies, and admit that they need physical support.
They ask for exercises to do, for example, to warm up. Musicians are
and disciplined, which has required us to become very competent in meeting
you shouldn’t think that they all suffer bodily disorders that
Some find a solution immediately, and find, as if by instinct, a magic
Paule, a 27-year-old pianist, explains: “I have always found a
refuge in music.
am never bored with it and can work happily for several hours. I have
felt that there was harmony between my body and my instrument. I don’t
myself any questions; I produce a pure sound.” Of course not every-one
as lucky as Paule, which is the reason for this book. Its aim? To help
who suffer and to answer the following question: “what should
I do if something
goes wrong?” and to primarily provide prevention.
Throughout the following pages, you’ll read about musicians who
tell us how,
one day, their bodies refused to continue. Some had to stop playing
momentarily… others had to stop for good. I hope these testimonies
to explain to musicians who are out of order that they are
not alone, and that
they have a path to follow to find their inner serenity. Teachers, doctors
and specialised physiotherapists, all working closely together, are
there to help.
In fact we all agree about one thing: a lot of problems could have been
if a preventive routine had been put into place. Practical advice is
to help each and every one of you face the times when you “work
without always being in your best physical shape,” as the 43-year-old
Olivier explained to me.
My goal is also to help teachers in their work. Clear explanations and
facts about the anatomy of the body, aided by drawings by Blandine Calais-
Germain, will help teachers pass on to their students a positive approach
body, which is more than just to say “relax, you are too tense”…
For a lot
of musicians, having a relaxed body means being in good shape. This
a misconception that absolutely must be clarified. When a musician plays
according to a mental concept about his body instead of feeling it from
he is making a mistake, since a huge discrepancy occurs between the
memory and the body memory. Making both sections of the brain agree
is not always an easy task!
This book refers to instruments such as the piano or violin. The reason
so many of you are playing them, often without realizing that there
significant risks. Other instruments not mentioned are no less important,
but the purpose of this book is not necessarily to consider the problems
to the playing of all instruments. As you will see, certain subjects
this is intentional, as there are always several ways of explaining
the same problem.
As a musician, training your body to achieve maximum performance is
ordeal, but when you are successful, what a treat! “At the moment,
is organised around music. My body is trained in order to help me produce
a suitable sound for the music. I can play six to eight hours a day
feeling tired, and I’ve never enjoyed it more than now.”
Those are the words
of Christine, a 25 year-old viola player, whom I treated in collaboration
her teacher. They are worth all the thank-yous in this world
and are highly
encouraging for all musicians. If this book helps musicians to succeed
fully, without hurting their bodies, then I will have fulfilled my goal.