Playing (Less) Hurt: An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians


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By Janet Horvath

Making music at any level is a powerful gift. While musicians have endless resources for learning the basics of their instruments and the theory of music, few books have explored the other subtleties and complexities that musicians face in their quest to play with ease and skill. The demands of solitary practice, hectic rehearsal schedules, challenging repertoire, performance pressures, awkward postures, and other physical strains have left a trail of injured, hearing-impaired and frustrated musicians who have had few resources to guide them.

Playing Less Hurt addresses this need with specific tools to avoid and alleviate injury. Impressively researched, the book is invaluable not only to musicians, but also to the coaches and medical professionals who work with them. Everyone from dentists to orthopedists, audiologists to neurologists, massage therapists and trainers will benefit from Janet Horvath's coherent account of the physiology and psyche of a practicing musician. Writing with knowledge, sympathetic insight, humor and aplomb, Horvath has created an essential resource for all musicians who want to play better and feel better.

This handbook is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. In the book the author encourages self-analysis, but this does not entail self-diagnosis. Her suggestions are offered from the standpoint of musical technique and the book is a common-sense approach to injury prevention from a performer's standpoint.

256 pages.

Part One : Overview of How Injuries Can Arise
1. My Story
2. You Are Not Alone
3. Why It May Hurt to Play
4. The Conductor Is in the Driver's Seat
5. Causes of Overuse Injuries
6. Risk Factors and Understanding Danger Signals

Part Two: Explanation of Various Injuries
7. Static Loading, Back and Disc Problems
8. Muscle and Tendon Disorders of the Arms and Shoulders
9. Nerve Entrapments and Hand and Forearm Pain
10. Other Conditions

Part Three: Preventative and Restorative Approaches
11. Too Much, Too Soon?
12. Stretching and Strengthening
13. Chair Problems
14. Make Comfort Your Priority
15. Hearing Is Our Business
16. The Worst Case Scenario
17. How Do I Start Back?
18. Instrument Modifications
19. Practice, Practice, Practice
20. Views for the Future

Part Four: Further Help Is Available
Resource List
Index of Instruments
Index of Images
Index of Charts and Tables
About the Author


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