Diana Battefeld,  Practice Break After the Snowstorm, 80x100cm, 2019, [Oil on Linen].

Every musician experiences physical discomfort and ailments that are disabling.  Sometimes, these instrument-related maladies can leave the musician maimed for life, more often, however, they are a temporary nuisance that prevent the player from performing for many months. In order to avoid injuries it is important to relax, stretch your body, paying special attention to the hands. This is true whether you are playing the violin, viola, piano, cello, flute …etc. Start with warm up exercises and  take 10 minute breaks after 30 minutes of practice.  If you feel the slightest form of discomfort  or tension anywhere, it is imperative to stop, take a break, have a cup of tea, and go over the music piece in your head.  I have found that after a 10 minute nap, I am often more alert and my brain absorbs new information more efficiently. However, this is not enough, being a musician, like being a physicist, is a like running a lifelong marathon — there is no finishing line as there is always something new to learn and discover. An important aspect that is often neglected is the overall health. Having a healthy diet, daily exercise, staying hydrated and anxiety free is very important.  The violin doesn’t weigh much, but holding it for an hour can be strenuous if the biceps and triceps branchii, as well as your back, are not strong and fit. I did not always take breaks between playing and as a result, ended up injuring myself. Luckily I was able to avoid further damage and I eventually healed, after a long period of nine months. See The Breakfast