Yoga for Classical Musicians



Are you feeling achy, tired, sore, cold, or anxious? Feeling this way before performing and practicing is not healthy. I cannot count how many times professors have told me stories about how they or someone they know has suffered an injury caused by an accumulation of those very same issues. This year, all of these negative emotions had manifested in my physical body. I was having back pain, shoulder pain, wrist pain, you name it. I didn't want to have to do some sort of rehab later, nor did I want to have to stop playing for an obscene amount of time. So I decided to change how I was treating my body by taking a small step and trying to find a warm-up for my practicing.


Knowing myself, a huge alteration of some sort was not going to fly. I needed something that was a small step with instant results so that I could somehow trick myself into better habits. With that in mind, I chose to find a physical warm-up that I or anyone else could do in the confines of a practice room or before a performance.


I found the YouTube channel Music Body Mind created by Amelia, a trombonist and music teacher who is passionate about yoga. The video is about 10 minutes long, but the actual stretches take almost exactly 9 minutes. I am by no means good at yoga, nor have I EVER been in a class, and from what I know, most of my classical music friends are in the same boat. What I loved about this video is that the entire sequence is done while sitting in a chair.



Some call it lazy. I call it efficient.

 


Overview of Yoga Warm Up for Musicians


Video Score:

Efficiency: 10/10

Did I feel warmed up and loose by the end of the video: 10/10

Will I feel comfortable doing this entire video in most settings: 8/10

---------------------------------

Exercises covered in the video:


Shoulder rolls

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 10/10

Neck stretches (three different kinds)

  • Was the stretch effective:10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 10/10

Side stretch

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 8/10

Back and shoulder twist stretch

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 10/10

Spine stretch

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 9/10

Shoulder and arm stretch

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 5/10

Wrists, hands, and fingers warm-up (This was my favorite, and I do it before everything now)

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 10/10

Guided breath exercise

  • Was the stretch effective: 10/10

  • Can I feel comfortable doing this in most settings: 6/10

 

My goal was to find a small way to treat my body better, and this video was an easily accomplishable activity.


I now use a few of the above stretches when I only have a few minutes before a rehearsal, but most of the time before my practice sessions I do the entire sequence. I wanted instant results, and that's what I got! I felt relaxed, physically warm, and I played with less tension; after about a week, I can say that I am more aware of my body. Before, I would finish a practice session because I realized how long my body had been hurting. Now, I have the awareness needed to notice when the pain starts, and I am able to take a practice break to stretch and relax.


Try out these stretches and comment with your thoughts. I highly recommend you give her channel a look sometime this week.


I have tried several of her videos at this point, and I am hooked!

Core Yoga for Musicians

Morning Yoga Flow for Musicians

Shoulder Yoga for Musicians


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