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Musicians do a lot of physical work, which of course changes depending on the instrument they play, but there is always some degree of physical activity which could lead to injuries.

It’s very common for musicians to have injuries along their journey, but the biggest problem of all is that many musicians don’t care too much about a bit of pain in the wrist, or a bit of strain on the vocal cords.

The thing is that it should, because the more it gets sidelined the more the injury becomes worse and eventually leads you to stop  performing and no one wants that.

Most of these injuries come from not learning how to play or sing properly, which is one of the first tips to avoid injuries.

A Few Common Injuries

Among the most common injuries for a musician are:

  • Tendinitis/tendinosis.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Bursitis.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Strained vocal cords.
  • Back, neck and shoulder strain.

As you can see from your wrist to your back, your body may or may not suffer some of these injuries if you don’t learn proper techniques or put too much strain on your body.

How To Avoid Music Injuries

Learning is not just about being able to play, it’s about playing the right way in order to allow your body to feel comfortable.

This in turn lets you explore the possibilities of your instrument or voice more comfortably.And of course can prevent most injuries, which is our main focus here.

Let’s take for example a music student who is in a  rock band.

Rock is very well known for going against traditional or proper techniques in favor of feeling and creativity, but this comes at a cost.

This student may have seen that one of the most common ways to play rock is down strumming, but it’s not really an easy thing to do, mostly because you need the right technique.

These little things need to be one of the top priority for music teachers, and it can be easily overlooked since you’d have to check up on every student to see if they are performing properly.

No Warm Ups

Just like an athlete, no warm ups means tension, tension leads to injuries, so teachers need to remind their students to do warm ups and be very specific on how to do it the right way.

For singers, it’s also good to warm up even days before a performance and stay hydrated.

There are no excuses to avoid warm ups, as they will make you avoid injuries and  will give your body a lot more room for better performance.

Not Enough Rest

Playing and singing for hours non-stop can trigger a few injuries as well, that’s why resting is an important part of being a musician.

Accidents

Accidents can happen to anyone, but if you are a musician and the affected part of your body is essential for playing, then you probably have to pay attention for a full recovery as soon as possible.

Evaluate Yourself and See a Doctor

You don’t need to be in a terrible state or in an emergency in order to go to the doctor, and this is one of the most common mistakes people make.

The idea is to avoid problems in your body and take care of things before it gets worse.

This mindset will help you be in better condition as a musician.

Parents, therapists and doctors, are very well aware of how stubborn musicians are to stop or change when and how they play, but this is a very serious subject.

If it hurts or something feels off, it’s time to do something, because it is definitely better to stop playing for a few months than to have  a more permanent injury.

It sounds like plain logic right? Still musicians are still pushing their bodies beyond their limits.

In order to avoid losing the ability to perform altogether, remember to get medical help and stay in shape.

 Scheduling a Technique Reminder Lesson

An easy way to remember to check on your students is to schedule regular technique checks. 

As music teachers, it’s important to remember to pause and remind students of technique/posture and for those who teach advanced students, it may be a good idea to ask the students if they are experiencing any uncomfortable or painful side effects of being a musician. 

To help yourself remember, perhaps schedule a particular lesson every couple months to intentionally ask and communicate with your students. You can do this easily through Music Teacher’s Helper in their lesson note section! No need to remember to do this on your own. Try out a free 30 day trial today. 

 

 

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Every music student will eventually face one of the most exciting and scary moments…the live performance.

As teachers, it’s important to prepare students to be ready when it comes to playing in front of an audience. There are a few things you will need to address.

First of all, it’s important to know that the focus here is going to be about music students in general, which could lead to all sorts of genres of music.

Everyone is different

Remember that every student is different.  Some students may have a harder time performing in front of people than others.

While as teacher you should give the same attention to every student, it’s important to ??

Stage Fright

This is the main hurdle for some musicians when playing for the first few times, however the worst aspect about stage fright is actually before actual performance.

For many musicians, stage fright, nerves or butterflies in the stomach go away the second they begin their performance.

For some it may be a bit more of a problem as it gets in the way of the actual performance with a cloud of doubt and insecurity.

This is normal and the best tip out there is to get used to it, like many things in life, being out of the comfort zone is not an easy thing. It’s scary at first but it’s also easy to overcome those fears with time.

You have to remind your students to not worry during the pre show routines, the most important thing before a live performance is to be focused and prepared, because this will carry your students throughout their stage fright when the time comes.

Live Behaviour and Mistakes

A musician’s focus is of course the music, but it is a show, and you need to let your students know that the show must go on, always.

As musicians get more comfortable in their “live performer selves” they will develop a stronger presence, but the most important thing for beginners and music students is to deal with mistakes in an elegant way.

It’s almost impossible to avoid mistakes, and you need to remind them of that hard fact.

What can be avoided is a poor way to handle those mistakes, which is to stop playing or making funny faces to indicate they made that mistake.

This is one of the most common mistakes young music students make, and the best way to overcome this, is to practice.

It should be clear however that there are two ways of practicing, general rehearsal and practicing specific parts of a musical piece.

When practicing a specific part, stopping is necessary, going back and doing it again, listen closely and fix every little mistake as much as possible.

But when rehearsing, the idea is to play or sing as if you were live.

What this does is that you get used to following the general structure of the music no matter what, making every mistake a tiny bump on the road instead of a stone wall.

Live Supervision and Support

For the younger students, it’s always good to let them know you will be there, not just as adult supervision but support.

If your students see a figure with whom they feel comfortable, their eyes will turn to them and it will no doubt give them confidence.

On the other hand, it’s always good to supervise and keep things under control if there are any unwanted surprises or negative behaviours.

A Few More Tips

Live

For pianists, it’s a good idea to have them practice the entire sequence from coming up to the piano bench to finishing the piece and bowing.

If you test them by placing the bench incorrectly on purpose and let them adjust it the right way, they will be better prepared for small situations like that.

In order to overcome their nerves, it’s a great idea to have them play in front of people, maybe start small, playing in front of their family, then small groups of friends.

This will help them get used to being heard and seen, while maybe also have a bit of feedback on where they lose strength throughout the performance which can be very helpful and important in their career as musicians.

Performances in the Calendar

Having a music organization software program like Music Teacher’s Helper can help you organize all of your performances. You are able to keep a calendar and add which students will be attending that particular event. You can also keep track of cover charges in the event as well! Come try us out for free for 30 days by clicking the Sign Up button at the top of the page!

 

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Taking care of your piano is something that goes beyond lessons but teachers would do well to remind their students how to maintain their piano, keep it clean, in tune and in the best condition possible.

Before the actual playing, a piano beginner should learn a few basic needs for every pianist.

Teachers need to remind students that the place where you play your piano matters, that keeping it in tune is a must, dealing with rust, dust as well as knowing what things to avoid.

Here are a few tips on how to keep that piano in perfect condition for playing.

Piano Placement

This is something every pianist needs to consider, not just to play comfortably, but to avoid anything that may affect a piano in a negative way.

There are a few things that cannot be close to a piano:

  • Fireplaces
  • Radiators
  • Air vents
  • Heaters
  • Air conditioners
  • Gas Heaters
  • Stoves

Remember that a piano is mainly made up of metal and wood so it needs the right type of care to avoid the wood from swelling from humidity.

Swelling can cause the wood to press against the metal parts which is not good for the instrument.

If there is no way to avoid these issues, there is the possibility of having a humidity control system which regulates any changes in humidity with a built-in humidifier and dehumidifier, keeping the humidity level controlled.

Maintain Piano in Tune

The most common concern is, how often should I tune my piano? Well this depends on a few things but the general rule is a minimum of 2 times per year.

However this can change for a number of reasons, the first one was already mentioned and that is humidity and temperature.

A common misconception is that playing a piano frequently is what makes it go out of tune, but it’s not.

Still even if the piano is in perfect temperature conditions, it will most likely go out of tune as the strings stretch.

It’s really easy to know when it needs a tune, just noticing changes in the usual sound is enough, from buzzing and twanging, to changes in pitch or tone.

Another big reason for a piano to go out of tune is when it is moved from one place to another, which makes sense and happens to most string instruments.

Always keep your instruments in tune, otherwise you won’t be able to play it properly.

Also, the more time you let your piano be out of tune, the worse it’s going to get, and you need every key to play the note it’s supposed to

How to Maintain Your Piano Clean 

maintain

Of course part of the maintenance is to keep it clean by removing any rust, dust or anything that shouldn’t be there.

First of all, something that is very important to everyone these days is disinfecting, so how do you disinfect your piano keys?

Well according to steinway.com these are the right steps:

  • To disinfect your piano — the keys are the most important part. Over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide available from any pharmacy, is safe for piano keys.
  • Dampen a cotton pad with hydrogen peroxide and use the pad to wipe down the piano keytops (back to front) between players.
  • Use diluted alcohol-based disinfectants, do not use bleach-based disinfectants or any product containing citrus.
  • If using a spray or liquid bottle, use disposable pads or soft cloths. Put the disinfectant on the towel and not the piano.
  • Always follow up with a dry towel and never leave any liquids on the piano or keys.

Then comes the general cleaning part.

Voicing and Regulation

Regulation is approximately 37 adjustments per key of the pianos action mechanism to enable it to play as it should, this is without any noticeable change in sound quality.. 

This fixes many issues such as wear and tear to the action, excessive expansion and contraction of the wooden parts, loss of strength in the steel springs, normal felt compression, damage from moths or just general neglect.

Voicing on the other hand is an altering of the tone quality within each note throughout the piano by adjusting the tension of the hammer felt. 

That said, voicing is something that may give different results depending on the pianist’s preference, but it is a much needed part of piano maintenance nonetheless.

Things to Avoid!

Some of these above  warnings may be a little obvious but it doesn’t hurt to include the obvious, and there is no such thing as caring too much about your piano.

Once your piano is clean, in tune and ready to go.

Also, avoid this becoming lost in time, don’t forget your piano maintenance as well as teaching your students about it. 

With MTH you can easily get reminded about it as a calendar event, even if your week is full with lessons!

 

 

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