Is it traumatic to be a musician?

We all love and appreciate when someone is playing his instrument fantastically. Listening to someone playing oboe or cello we cry or have some visions of pictures, places, it seems so real, so live. Sometimes its just breathtaking.

But we should also know what is behind this beauty, behind this professionalism. Sometimes it is not only about hours and hours of hard work. Lets admit it – sometimes it is about health and wellbeing as well.

Guess what is this? This photo was taken right after piano competition, these guys just finished Bartok’s Trio:

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Have you seen a “Whiplash” movie? No?  This guy is a great example that if you work really hard on something, well, get really to be hurt, and there’s nothing you can do:

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You may say “Ok, I guess being a flutist is a good idea”. I dont want to sound dramatic, but no, its not. Flutists are finishing their career early because of extremely high intracranial pressure which is very harmful for health:

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Oboe maybe?

Well, in my eyes oboe and bassoon are the most dangerous instruments EVER. The structure of these two instruments is very tricky, so is sound extract. The buzzer is very very narrow, so you exhale slow enough so huge amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in your blood. You can perform this experiment: take a deep breath and then exhale through, say, disassembled pen. Then straight away do it over and over again, for 20 mins. I can imagine that you’ll feel dizzy (the least to say) in 5-7 mins.  So, being an oboist means being simply intoxicated.

How about trombone or tuba? Hehehe, this sounds cool and loud enough.

If oboe and bassoon means hypo-ventilation of  your lungs, brass instruments are also harmful from the other end – and this end is hyper-ventilation, aka it is the same intoxication but with the oxygen. Lets do another experiment: imagine yourself blowing into 3-meter tube (this is an approximate length of straightened french horn) and not just blow but blow strong enough to create quite a strong air stream. Do it not once, not twice, but non stop for same 20 mins. Feel dizzy, your mind drifts?..  Welcome to the brass player’s world.

Ok, lets talk about strings then! They feel not so terrible already.  🙂

I play violin for more than 25 years and my left collarbone (violin hold side) is curved forever. I am not talking about blisters in fingers (common problem for all string players including guitarists):

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I guess many of my colleagues are having the same problem, but it is way not that harmful compare to what The Ultimate Champion Of Ruining One’s Health – aka cello and harp – are doing to people.

It just seems natural to sit and play cello. But because of the nature of cello (and harp) one is not just sitting ALONGSIDE of the instrument, turns out the body twines around the instrument like a questioning sign, causing irreversible damage of core and spine. Speaking of harp, its all getting even worse through the fact that harp’s weight is ……    32 kg. Just imagine: sit down and curve your back like a goose neck, trying to sit like this for 3 hrs (this is how long “Swan Lake” goes). And then if you still enthusiastic, put some dumbbell or something really heavy on your left shoulder and sit like this two times for 10 mins (this is how long it takes to perform the most beautiful “Swan Lake’s” White and Black Adagios).

 

Well, lets admit it. Being a musician isn’t that easy, mentally and physically. But honestly, lets aslo admit it, it is worth it.

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