- April 29, 2010 at 5:47 am #255498
Philip SteinbacherParticipantNot sure if this is the proper forum for this question, but…I’ve begun to notice some shoulder tenderness and weakness, which I attribute to conducting. Any suggestions for good books, resources, etc. for proper exercises to strengthen and increase flexibility in my shoulders. This is not a problem – yet – but I’d like to prevent a problem from developing in the future. Thanks!April 29, 2010 at 6:30 am #255514
Robert LaheyParticipantCheck with a good orthopedist and/or physical therapist. If you have tendonitis or rotator cuff difficulties, there are some simple exercises that will help tremendously.April 29, 2010 at 6:51 am #255499
Nariman H. WadiaParticipantDear Philip,Get Dr. Sarno’s Pain, the mind body connection, usually available from Amazon.Another of his books, a MUST read, is Healing Back Pain.I know your back is pain free, but the ideas expressed are wonderful.After no less than 30 years of incredible, paralyzing pain in my lower back (intermittent), I am now totally pain free.No rest, no drugs, no surgery.Good Luck,Nariman.Nariman H. Wadia,Chairman,The Paranjoti Academy Chorus of Bombay, India.April 29, 2010 at 7:00 am #255516
David JanowerParticipantI’ve had shoulder problems for years, a result of overuse, my doctors say. Two things have worked. Icing my shoulder immediately after rehearsals. I used to wait until I got hom to the ice, but a lowly-paid physical therapist told me what fancy doctors hadn’t, that I waited too long. Picture Roger Clemens icing immediately after leaving the mound, BEFORE the inflammation sets it. It’s worked for 20 years.Recently it’s gotten bad again, so I am doing exercises to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder, using a stretch band. After 3 weeks it feels better. Happy to detail those if you like.Good luck!DavidApril 29, 2010 at 7:16 am #255520
Andrea GoodmanParticipantMy singers complain of the same issue when holding their folders. I suggested the any movement of the shoulder may seem to originate from there, but it really originates in the back muscles. Proper posture and alignment, and good old strength training (not only for the whole body- core stability- but also focusing on the back and abs) will help enormously. A good teacher in the Alexander technique will work with you on proper alignment. That is what has been taught at Juilliard for years to performers on all instruments to avoid these issues.Good luck.April 29, 2010 at 10:49 am #255540
John HowellParticipantPhilip: This may be too obvious to mention, but are you using a comparatively heavy baton? A lot of people seem to favor plastic (which is considerably heavier than a lightweight wood) with rather bulky knobs on the end.Our conducting teacher in grad school recommended the King Brand batons, very light weight wood, cork on the end for a better grip, and available in several different lengths for different uses. As she said, a professional conductor could be conducting 8 hours a day, and you don’t need to be hauling around a lot of extra weight! I bought a dozen on her say-so, and I’ve been using them ever since.As to preventive things, there may indeed be very good books, but it will never hurt to consult with a physical therapist or perhaps an occupational therapist. (The latter seem to specialize in hands and arms; the former in the rest of the body.) See your own doctor and ask about getting a referral. Since it’s preventive, it probably won’t be covered by your insurance, but it’s still worth looking into. And Alexander technique, while I’m not personally familiar with it, seems to be something any musician can learn from.All the best,JohnApril 29, 2010 at 11:20 am #255547
Meagan JohnsonParticipantHello Philip:My suggestion is to find an Alexander Technique teacher in your local area. An Alexander teacher can help you learn to conduct with less effort, thereby preventing injury. Check out http://www.alexandertech.org to search for a teacher; they also have a resources section with links to on-line information. I recommend “Body Learning” by Michael Gelb as a terrific introduction to the Alexander Technique. If you find that to be interesting, “Indirect Procedures” by Pedro de Alcantara is a great Alexander book specific to musicians’ concerns.Good luck!MeaganMusic Director, AmasongCertified Teacher of the Alexander TechniqueApril 29, 2010 at 11:52 am #255549
Myron PattersonParticipantHi Philip,Have you considered working with an Alexander Technique coach. If this interests you, google alexander technique to find the association which has a list of qualified Alexander Technique coaches across the country.April 29, 2010 at 11:55 am #255550
Jeff WallParticipantHi Phillip. I’m a retired cage fighter/mixed-martial artist as well as a choral conductor, so I’ve learned how to mend injuries and pain for myself quite effectively. Please do check with an MD to rule out any serious injury. Otherwise, the others are correct about icing the injury. Usually, overuse causes swelling and the ice can help to reduce swelling and pressure on joints and in muscles. Obviously, rest and relaxation also help to allow the injury to heal. As for strengthening, I suggest Tai Chi frequently to my colleagues and students. It helps with strength, flexibility, relaxation, and I have also found it to be beneficial to my conducting. Best wishes on a speedy recovery.April 29, 2010 at 12:12 pm #255551
Cheryl DupontParticipantPhilip,I teach condicting in summer courses for teachers, and I have found that my students who have shoulder pain frequently conduct with too much tension in the upper body. When they can remember to breathe and support as a conductor just as if they were singing, they use the larger core muscles, and the arms and shoulders can then be relaxed on top of it. I spent years as a dancer, and studied conducting extensively after my Master’s and I really believe this. Part of my conducting study included the study of T’ai Chi, which also uses core muscle support and relaxed upper body. I guest conduct a lot and I never have shoulder pain, even after conductung 9 AM – 9 PM several days in a row. I’m not sure this is helpful, but I offer it in case you want to try it. This way, instead of treating the pain after it happens, you can prevent the pain.Good luck, whatever you decide to do.CherylApril 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm #255637
I learned from my studies with Dr. Alice G. Brandfonbrener that treatment must be given only with the full knowledge of the problem. Without seeing you conduct it is not possible to identify the specific reason for your discomfort. You should show any medical professional what you do as part of the analysis and treatment.
You might want to experiment by placing the beat points at waist level, dropping rather than throwing your arm, contracting the brachioradialis muscle for the shortest possible time only and varying your gestures in the use of acceleration and deceleration.
As others have suggested, finding competent medical advice and exploring ways to relax through posture and efficient motions are key to prevention.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.