Janet Horvath  

Too Much, Too Soon?

Janet Horvath
May 4, 2019


  • Does your teacher have an intense teaching style?

  • Is your playing style intense, emotional, macho?

  • Do you have a predilection for difficult, pyrotechnical, challenging, loud repertoire?

  • Do you love to slam your bow or slap your fingers into the strings or keys?

  • Do you practice mostly at the forte dynamic range?

  • Do you love chop-busting, high range exercises?

  • Do you squeeze your instrument while holding it?

  • Do you jam the keys down even when playing softly?

  • Do you "lose track of time" when practicing?

  • Do you never say no?

  • Do you clench your jaw or grit your teeth?

  • Do you schedule “back to back" rehearsals, gigs and performances?

  • Do you play in spite of fatigue and pain?

  • Do you fling your fingers off strings or keys?

  • Do you grip your bow tightly or grab your fingerboard or squeeze it?

  • Do you play a very large, heavy or very resistant instrument?

  • Do you play with a heavy bow, keep your strings high, or use a worn-out, ill-fitting chin rest?

  • Do you stretch to reach notes or keys?

  • Do you hold fingers uplifted and/or curled?

  • Do you hold stretches, double stops, or chords down?

  • Do you snap your elbow when changing from downbow to upbow?

  • Are you a tense, stressed person?

  • Are you depressed?

  • Do you neglect to warm up?Do you sleep poorly?

  • Are you physically inactive?

  • Are you overweight?

  • Do you consume more than two cups of caffeinated beverages a day?

  • Do you take drugs or drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol?

Playing an instrument should not be reduced to drudgery and struggle. The goal, after all, is to experience a sense of elation of playing music. It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel inspiration and passion while playing in pain.

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