Don't skip your warm-up exercises
I used to complain and sometimes felt lazy when I had to do warm-up exercises before playing the piano. I wanted to skip it and jump on to the lesson at hand. But like any sport or exercise routine, our hands, throat, mouth, etc. needs to be conditioned before playing an instrument.
Observe proper posture
Make sure you are seated, standing or positioned correctly in relation to your musical instrument. Good posture doesn't only prevent back and neck pains, it will also help you play your instrument more efficiently with less strain.
Evaluate your instrument
Determine whether the size, weight or shape of the instrument is right for you. Decide whether you would need an accessory to make playing your instrument more comfortable, such as a strap, cushioned stool, lighter strings, etc.
Take note of your playing technique
Music teachers would often stress that the best way to stop bad playing habits is to not start having one. There are correct positioning and playing techniques you must learn and be aware of before playing your instrument. Ask your teacher, read books, research, familiarize yourself and practice it from the start to avoid developing bad playing techniques.
Listen to your inner music
Our bodies are very intelligent, they let us know when something is wrong or if a certain body part or organ isn't functioning well. Listen to your body. When your arms are feeling tired and strained from playing -stop and rest. When your back and neck are starting to ache - take a break. When your throat is starting to get sore - take a breather. It's true that practice makes perfect, but too much practice can be potentially dangerous. Take regular breaks, pace yourself do not force yourself.
If symptoms persist, consult a doctor
Lastly, if you fear you're in danger of injury or have injured yourself, don't wait, consult your doctor immediately. Most injuries are treated easily when caught early.
With these in mind, I wish all of you a happy and safe music playing!
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