Musicians spend a lot of time practicing their instruments every day. Although it is an indispensable daily routine, being sedentary and maintaining the same posture for a long time can bring about various body aches, or more seriously even irreversible pain and sequelae to the body. So far, I am glad that I have not experienced such troubles, perhaps because I have maintained the habit of exercising. Whenever I become tired after practicing piano or doing homework, I can always rejuvenate myself by exercising.
This is not something to fool around with! As a person with an autoimmune disorder that is directly affected by healthy (or unhealthy) eating, I can tell you that the energy you get from food does count. There was a time when I was drained, exhausted, unable to complete my work, and unable to focus in the practice room. This was in part due to family stress and managing hypothyroidism, but another cause was food health. Now, I’ve made a few tweaks and paid more attention recently, and it’s a whole new world. I can achieve twice as much on a healthy day than I can on a day when things are rushed and what I eat is a hodgepodge of junk. Exercise is great, too, but sometimes it’s not enough. I love to run, but no matter how much I do or don’t run, healthy eating always comes into play. It can be so hard, especially when you’re doing your own cooking, to make time for health. With crazy busy schedules, musicians often don’t find time to take care of themselves. But eating and cooking healthy can be for everyone, so this applies to musicians, too!
As a junior, I have learned key aspects in my life that help me keep going and ensure that I am healthy. Of course, I am still learning and there is no perfect routine out there, but I have come a long way in figuring out some things that work for me. As long as you are willing to learn and experiment with what brings you joy then that’s all that matters. I thought I might share some things I do every day that make life a bit easier.
As both an instrumentalist and vocalist, the care in the instrument is very much different. An instrument, such as the cello, is separate from your body and being. Stringed instruments you have to be aware of during the changes in season, cracks, bending of the bridge, the hair on the bow, etc. But when taking care of the voice, it teaches you what your limit is and how to be patient. Of course as an instrumentalist, no matter what your instrument is, you learn your limits and patience, although I have learned that as a vocalist, there is a different sense of limits and patience for yourself.
As a college student, mental health is crucial to ensuring that you succeed in your studies and making the most out of your college experience. I think that as a performance major there is even more at stake when there is always a constant reliance on emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
Hey! I just wanted to give a brief anecdote and share a couple of reminders having to do with my recent experiences of practicing mentally, without my instrument, and coping with recital preparation stress through mindful awareness.
At the end of my last rehearsal on Friday, I noticed an ache in my elbow, where the forearm meets the joint, specifically when I moved my pinky finger. I knew I had been playing with some tension, as I was nervous about giving my recital in a few weeks, and I was playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto, which is filled with sixths, octaves, and tenths, so a little ache in my hand wasn’t surprising. The pinky is most likely a player’s weakest finger, and I was giving it a hard workout with this repertoire. So, I did some cool-down stretches and didn’t play for the rest of the day.