Friday, September 17, 2004

Alexander technique. Maybe that will be the ticket.

Tomorrow morning I've got an appointment with an Alexander teacher.

My first experience with Alexander Technique was when I took a masterclass with Ann LaBerge in 1989. She is also an Alexander teacher and that one lesson I had was really eye-opening. So when I was making my list of things I would try in order to treat my injury, Alexander Technique was definitely on the list.

Repetitive stress injuries are common in flute players (and all instrumental musicians). Mine is tendinitis. I suffered with it originally in my left forearm ("tennis elbow") and later on in my shoulder -- bicipital tendinitis. Various practitioners have treated it with prescription drugs, physical therapy, cortisone shots, Chinese herbs and acupuncture. All of them helped somewhat (except for the cortisone shots. Those were an unqualified bust). My forearm pain actually went away. But the shoulder continues to be a problem. I have had pain of some kind, from mild to severe, every time I've played the flute since 1988.

I now have a flute with an offset G key, which has been a goal of mine for years. It's taken the stress off my left arm that the inline flute keys of my old flute used to put on it. Now that the instrument is no longer in my way, I've got to make sure that I myself stop getting in my own way. I hope the Alexander lesson tomorrow gets me on the path.

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