Here’s a helpful post from Gretchen Saathoff’s blog Gretchen’s Pianos for those of us who are feel certain parts of our anatomy need some care & attention.
Any type of pain associated with playing an instrument needs to be addressed.
Let’s talk about neck pain in this post, though, to keep things manageable for readers.
When and how did your neck pain start? What were you doing at the time?
What do you do when not playing the piano? For example, do you drive long distances? Work at a desk? Use a computer for long periods of time?
Your work setup, car seat, steering wheel angle, different mattress, different pillow, bicycle handlebars, even not wearing sunglasses outdoors can all be factors.
Look at your practice setup.
- Bench too high or too low?
- Enough light?
- Music at a comfortable height?
- Have you had your eyes checked recently?
- Body alignment
- Drafty room
- Cold room
- A glare on the music
- Recent changes in technique
- Practicing too long without a break
- Learning a lot of notes all at the same time
- Sight-reading for hours
A look at some other factors
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Not eating regular meals.
- Being under the weather.
- Having a cold
- Coming down with something
- Dental issues
- Ask a friend to watch you play
- Videotape yourself playing
- Make small changes as indicated above
- Stretch before and after practice
- See a doctor who treats musicians
- Get a massage
- See a chiropractor
- Work with a physical therapist or sports trainer to strengthen back and shoulder muscles
Letting pain continue while proceeding as usual is not a solution, but will exacerbate the problem. Even if you are busy, have several performances coming up, or can think of a list of reasons not to address the pain, you must. Your longevity as a musician depends on it.