How To Prevent Body Injuries Caused By Bad Habits During Keyboard Lessons
Playing the keyboards may look ‘harmless’ from a spectator’s point of view. Yet keyboard players are at risk of having hand and other body injuries. It starts with improper executions until it becomes a habit. During keyboard lessons, you are taught ‘healthy’ playing techniques. However, keyboard players still fall into the trap of acquiring bad habits.
Are you guilty of committing these bad habits? Here are the tell-tale signs:
- Your fingers, wrists arms, and elbows are tensed and rigid.
- Cramming: You haven’t practiced for such a long time. Now that you have an upcoming performance, you get into panic mode and cram for your practice sessions.
- Bad posture:
- raised shoulders
- elbows are placed too close or too far from your body
- knuckles are too low or placed below wrist level
- wrists are not aligned with the keyboard — too high or too low wrist position
- psychological stress, anxiety, and negativity
- not resting or taking small breaks during practice sessions
- Pressing the keys by using your fingers only:
- causes muscle strain in your entire arm
- produces a ‘hammering’ or pounding sound
If you do not heed the advice of your keyboard teachers, you may start feeling these warning signals:
- Stinging pain around the hand and wrist area
- Fingers and arms may feel numb and weak
- Lack of blood circulation
- Pain extending to the forearms
- Cold hands
- Soreness in the shoulder and/ or neck area.
An ounce of prevention…nip it in the bud…Your hands and body can heal with these best practices:
- Rest and relax. Refrain from playing when your hands are sore or in pain.
- Gradually resume playing. Take it slow. Your injury will only get worse if you push yourself too hard.
- Practice regularly. Yes, you can practice every day but take intermittent breaks.
- Do simple stretching and warm-up exercises before playing your actual pieces.
- Take on an exercise routine to increase blood circulation. It helps nourish your muscles and tendons.
- Strengthen your stamina. Your overall body strength and resistance would help your body tackle the long hours and the physical strain from playing and practicing.
- Reduce the use of the computer. Pounding on the keyboard, clicking on the mouse, and spending long hours gazing into the screen is a keyboardist’s worst enemy. It could cause neck strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, due to the hands’ repetitive movements.
- Treat yourself to a day at the sauna. The heat and the steam serve as a natural relaxant for your tired muscles. And yes, it soothes the mind too.
- Play with a smile. Smiling or enjoying what you do eases the tension. It releases ‘happy hormones’ that have natural healing powers on the body.
The legendary classical pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff uttered these sad words when was told that he would never be able to play again: “My dear hands… Farewell, my poor hands.” Suffering this fate not only affects your hands, but your spirit as well. Make the most out of your keyboard lessons by imbibing good keyboard playing habits. Take good care of your hands. It is the outward expression of your musical spirit.