Tenor Saxophone – Chronic Pain/Tension Cycle (Musicians, Psychology, Pain, Strain, Injuries, Posture, Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on February 24, 2015

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Tenor Saxophone Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate saxophone technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A.

WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO INTERRUPT THE CHRONIC PAIN/TENSION CYCLE AS A PERFORMING MUSICIAN OR CONDUCTOR?

Let me state it more clearly. If you have a chronic ache in your body, it makes it almost impossible to play, sing, or conduct with joy and ease and appreciation for the music you’re creating or conducting.

WHEN YOU HAVE NONSTOP CHRONIC PAIN, YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO DO ANYTHING! The question is, speaking psychologically for a moment, does the psychological resistance to practice precede the chronic pain, or does poor posture and limiting technique cause the physical pain, which takes the joy out of practicing, performing, or conducting?

It could be either or both, but the problem is that when many performers or conductors are in chronic pain, they don’t stop what they’re doing and interrupt the pain tension cycle. What do I mean?

Players, singers, or conductors may practice the same amount of hours hurting, hoping the pain goes away. They may reduce their practice time, hoping it goes away. They may stop practicing altogether, hoping the pain goes away. They may medicate to mask the pain. They may look into surgery or physical therapy. (Physical therapy is usually about seeing all repetitive injury pain as being about the performer or conductor lacking the strength to get the job done, which may not be the case.)

Let’s assume the performer or conductor is in chronic pain because of either having strained a muscle or muscles at the instrument or conducting, or in some every day activity. He or she is in nonstop chronic pain, but there is no damage to the body. What would be the quickest loving intervention to end the hurting?

DO SOMETHING! What do I mean?

CHOOSE A SET OF ACTIONS TO INTERRUPT THE CHRONIC PAIN/TENSION CYCLE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO JUST DO NOTHING OR DISTRACT YOURSELF WITH ACTIVITIES THAT SUPPRESS YOUR HURTING (LIKE TV OR SLEEPING OR PILLS, ETC.). IT IS AMAZING HOW MUCH TIME A PLAYER, SINGER, OR CONDUCTOR WILL LET PASS WAITING TO STOP HURTING!

Why do so many performers or conductors do this? Very simply, when most people hurt, their first response is to block or suppress the pain, hoping it will go away quickly on its own. But if it doesn’t go away quickly, many performers or conductors don’t realize how much time they let pass before they can’t tolerate the pain anymore and finally do something proactively.

It is rare that a performer or conductor goes to an Alexander Technique teacher as soon as the chronic pain starts. (Chronic pain is nonstop hurting in the body, or the body chronically hurting whenever you play, sing, or conduct.)

What does proactive intervention look like? There are three forms of intervention, and all three together can get the performer or conductor out of chronic pain. Two are active and the other passive, but all three are proactive. What do I mean?

When a player, singer, or conductor comes to me in pain, the three things I do to get him or her out of pain as quickly as possible are:

1. I SHOW THE PERFORMER OR CONDUCTOR WHAT ISN’T WORKING POSTURALLY IN HIS OR HER TECHNIQUE
2. I CREATE SPECIFIC MOVEMENTS THAT INTERRUPT THE CHRONIC PAIN/TENSION CYCLE OF THE CLIENT.
3. I DO RELEASE WORK ON THE PLAYER, SINGER, OR CONDUCTOR ON THE TABLE.

In the first step I help the performer or conductor identify which postural and technique habits are creating physical problems, and to perform or conduct eliminating these poor body use habits and replace them with a posture and technique that works. (I do of course save what is already working posturally and in the performer’s or conductor’s technique.)

The second step is to help the client create an activity or a movement or something like a yoga posture to interrupt pain. Example: I may have the performer or conductor sit on a chair and bend over letting the head, neck, and shoulders and arms hang to the floor and consciously release the accumulated tension in an aching shoulder for five or ten minutes.

The third step is to do release work on the performer or conductor on the table. On the table I move an arm or leg or the head and teach the client to let go of tension and holding in all of the voluntary musculature of the whole body.

A major Alexander Technique concept is that if a client can let go of, release holding throughout the whole body, then the performer or conductor has regained control over that part of the body by consciously not tensing and creating chronic pain. (The Alexander Technique calls this regained control of the body “CONSCIOUS CONTROL”.)

THE LONGER YOU WAIT TO ACTIVELY INTERRUPT THE CHRONIC PAIN IN YOUR BODY, THE HARDER IT WILL BE TO GET OFF THE COUCH OR STOP TAKING THE PAIN MEDICATION, AND TAKE THE LOVING ACTIONS THAT GET YOU OUT OF PAIN.

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