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Injury Susceptibility Quiz
By Janet Horvath
May 31, 2012

Test yourself to see if you’re risking injury and you need to make changes. 

Does your teacher have an intense teaching style?
Is your playing style intense, emotional, macho?
Is your position awkward or uncomfortable?
Do you have a predilection for difficult, pyrotechnical, challenging, loud repertoire?
Do you love to slam your bow or slap your fingers into the strings or slam or squeeze down keys?
Do you practice mostly at the forte dynamic range?
Do you squeeze your instrument while holding it?
Do you jam the keys down, even when playing softly?
Do you lose track of time when practicing?
Do you have difficulty saying “no”?
Do you clench your jaw or grit your teeth?
Do you schedule back-to-back rehearsals, gigs, and performances?
Do you play in spite of fatigue and pain?
Do you fling your fingers off strings or keys?
Do you grip your bow tightly or grab your fingerboard or squeeze it?
Do you play without warming up?
Do you play a very large, heavy, or very resistant instrument?
Do you play with a heavy bow, keep your strings high or use a worn-out, ill-fitting chin rest?
Do you stretch to reach notes or keys?
Do you hold fingers uplifted and/or curled?
Do you hold stretches, double stops or chords down?
Do you snap your elbow when changing from
downbow to upbow?
Are you a tense, stressed person?
Are you depressed?
Do you neglect to warm-up?
Do you sleep poorly?
Are you physically inactive?
Are you overweight?
Do you consume more than two cups of caffeinated beverages a day?
Do you take drugs or drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol?

If You Answered “Yes”
If you answered “yes” to 10 or more of these questions, you need to rethink your approach to your instrument. Watch yourself in the mirror: Are you tensing up? How’s your posture? Are you holding your instrument awkwardly? Take more breaks per hour; pay close attention to aches and pains. Use a daily diary to keep track of fatigue or any soreness.

Note: If you have trouble “nailing” a passage, if your technique feels sluggish, if your fingers or lips don’t want to do what you need them to do, these are all indicators that something is amiss. Ignore them at your peril.—JH

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