Strength training related to musician´s pain

Pain experienced by musicians has become of crucial importance in the realm of the pathologies which develop inrelation to the playing of music. It could be claimed that there is a high prevalence of this kind of problems. However, I would like to underline the fact that there is not a clear solution and there is only partial unknowledgement among professional musicians.

Although it may be a mistake to generalise, as far as wind instruments are concerned, the most common complaint is that of lower back pain. Several different postures may occasion pain, for instance, anotable variation has been observed between the playing of the transverse flute and baritone saxophone.

Therefore, it can certainly be affirmed that pain may be experienced because of instrument weight and extreme player position. Nevertheless, through this project the key to the problem lies in how we use experiences of pain to generate a support system to develop future solutions.

In considering the saxophone, lower back is the most acute area, even though, there is of course a wide range of saxophones which are played in so many ways. We must divide them into two kinds, the symmetrical way (soprano, high and even tenor) and the asymmetrical way (tenor and baritone).

It should be observed that among asymmetrical positions the left and right sides of the bodyperform very different functions. Not only the previous positions, but also symmetric ones show these separate functions. The right arm usually takes the weight of instrument, which produce low back pain. This is the most worrying pain which has repercussions in related body areas.

Real Conservatorio Superior Victoria Eugenia de Granada, Saxevent 2020

In consequence of analysing saxophone playing positions, it has been observed that specifying according to the instrument and individualising according to the musician will lead to success. However, we should complement this guideline with muscle strength training which will achieve both short-term and long-term results in muscular stability.

Streching is generally considered one of the most effective methods to solve musician’s pain problems. Unfortunately, it is not an effective way of solving the problem. The streching method rarely obtains muscularrelaxationand does not lead to the stability that the musician needs. However, strength training will achieve higher muscular quality for the musician.

Real Conservatorio Superior Victoria Eugenia de Granada, Saxevent 2020

Specific musical training does not produce increased strength in working muscles, those which are directly involved in the playing action, because this training will only be successful if you strengthen supporting muscles, those opposite muscles to the action. These secondary muscles help us to maintain the appropiate posture while playing. Furthermore, we must focus particularly on the lumbo-pelvic core, which is the key area in order to maintain music movements and sustain the instrument’s wieght.

We have tried to outline the relevant factors, but I would like to highlight further benefits that are produced by this training. In designing these exercises, you have to keep in mind that these are done in order to enhance better muscular coordination. This coordination must be related to not only the single muscle, trying to make it more effective but also with the interaction with other muscles. This can be achieved through a process of re-muscular-learning and being able to hold the instrument without any pain.

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