Health and Wellness
The following are tips for wind musicians to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Keep feet at shoulder-width apart facing straight forward.
Maintain proper alignment in the stomach and hips.
Relax shoulders back and down. Horizontally lengthen the muscles of the upper chest.
Balance the head on the neck and shoulders—not too far forward and not too far back.
Relax the body from head to toe. Gently bounce keeping the feet on the floor to release unnecessary tension.
Stand back against a wall to make sure the body is properly aligned.
Do several minutes of breathing exercises each day. Here are a couple outstanding sources for breathing exercises:
- The Breathing Gym by Pat Sheridan and Sam Pilafian
- The Breathing Gym Clinic by Dr. Brian Shook (with exercises adapted from The Breathing Gym.) http://brianshook.com/resources/Breathing-Gym-Clinic.pdf
Play several minutes of Vincent Cichowicz’s flow studies each day. Play each flow study with a smooth, relaxed air stream.
Warm down with flow studies.
Incorporate rest into practice sessions and rehearsals. Stop playing if pain is felt. Pain is the body’s way of communicating that a break is needed. Do not numb the embouchure to avoid pain. Keep the lines of communication open between the brain and body to avoid any further damage.
Drink plenty of water before, during, and after playing. The recovery process must begin immediately after a long rehearsal.
Eat fruits and vegetables.
Eat foods like nuts and salmon—they naturally reduce inflammation.
Get eight hours of sleep. Sleep is essential to repair tired and damaged muscle fibers.