Playing the viola or violin is a very physical activity, and requires good body awareness and proper equipment to prevent injury and strain. Here are some useful tips for when playing hurts. :(
• Evaluate your equipment to make sure it’s working for you, including your chin rest, shoulder rest, and the size of the instrument.
• Whenever you’re playing, remember to breathe! This will help you maintain energy and focus, and prevent your muscles from getting stuck.
• Use the mirror as a tool to observe how you’re using your body.
• Take lots of breaks, get up and move around, try varying whether you’re sitting or standing.
• If you can’t fix the problem on your own, tell your teacher! The more specific you can be about where the pain is, the better. A good teacher will be compassionate, and will help you feel natural and comfortable with your instrument.
• Lastly, there are numerous kinds of bodywork that can help you maintain a better relationship with playing, such as Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, yoga, and many others. Ask your teacher what they recommend, or check out resources online.