Viola da Gamba (Viol) – Recovery from Pain and Strain (Musicians)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on June 14, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Viola da Gamba (Viol) 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 viol 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. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

What is the most loving way to recover from pain and/or strain on the viola da gamba? In writing this post, I’m assuming you’ve done nothing to your hands, arms, or body that requires surgery. There is no actual physical damage, but your musculature is making comfortable playing difficult.

Because of this pain and strain, do you stop playing the viola da gamba until you can return to the instrument pain-free? Or do you use the viol to heal your body, as your own form of rehabilitative therapy? I vote for using the viola da gamba to rehab your body.

IF YOU HAVE CAUSED PAIN AND STRAIN TO YOUR BODY ON THE VIOLA DA GAMBA, THEN YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING WRONG IN YOUR TECHNIQUE AND/OR POSTURE AS YOU PLAY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EVENTUALLY HAVE PAIN AND STRAIN ON THE VIOL, BECAUSE THIS IS A GIVEN GUARANTEED OCCURRENCE WHEN YOU PLAY THE MOST DIFFICULT LITERATURE WRITTEN FOR THE INSTRUMENT.

So, how do you use the viola da gamba to heal your body? Before I answer this question, I want to say that using the viol as the primary therapy to heal yourself is uniquely Alexandrian. It is a principle central to the Alexander Technique.

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER SEES MOST PAIN AND STRAIN ON THE VIOLA DA GAMBA AS CAUSED BY MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT TECHNIQUE AND POSTURE. WHICH MEANS, OVER TIME YOU WILL EVENTUALLY CAUSE YOURSELF TO GET INTO PHYSICAL TROUBLE, IF YOU ARE SOLELY FOCUSED ON WHAT COMES OUT OF THE VIOL, RATHER THAN HOW EFFICIENTLY AND EFFORTLESSLY YOU CAN PLAY.

Now, how do you use the viola da gamba to heal your body? You do what I did when I got carpal tunnel syndrome on the classical guitar. I used the guitar as an activity to find the most mechanically advantageous posture and the most mechanically advantageous technique, as I sat and practiced for hours.

Everything I had ever been taught or learned from guitar teachers and acquired by default on posture and technique on the guitar was questioned. I tested everything I was doing on the guitar, and if it didn’t feel balanced and powerful in my whole body when I was doing it, then I replaced what I was doing.

Let’s apply this to viola da gamba technique and posture. As you sit with the viol, could you sit the way you’re sitting and play for an hour without pain and strain and aches? If not, you’re doing something wrong. Can you play and breathe effortlessly nonstop in everything you play? If not, you’re doing something wrong. Can you play effortlessly and powerfully equally with both arms? If not, you’re doing something wrong.

Let me explain this “you’re doing something wrong” statement. It isn’t a statement of blame, of saying you’ve chosen to consciously do bad things on the viola da gamba. It is a statement that says because you are getting into trouble physically on the viol, it is time to take control of everything you do on the viola da gamba. Let the viol be at least the one place in your life where you don’t feel off balance, don’t strain to play well, and don’t have aches and pains.

If you are incredibly perceptive, you can do much of what I suggest alone, but it is amazing gift to yourself to have the feedback of an Alexander Technique teacher, who can easily and objectively help you find a posture and viola da gamba technique that is loyal to YOUR body.

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER NEVER LETS WHAT SHOULD WORK GET IN THE WAY OF WHAT WORKS.

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