burning sensation

Scott Joplin

Listening to Scott Joplin and Bartok piano pieces as I sip coffee before daylight in Western Michigan.

Yesterday my fatigue overtook me. I went to church to do some catch-up work. Filed a bunch of music and sat down at the organ to goof off with some music of Distler and other composers I am interested in.

Couldn’t concentrate.  Plus my shoulder/back area was burning.

For the last few weeks I have been experiencing a burning sensation in my upper back/shoulder area when I am tired and tense. Usually I just stop and rest and it goes away. But it seems to be getting a bit worse.

I suspect that I have begun holding my body differently and this is contributing to this.

Last night for the first time I experienced the pain in a rehearsal. For about the last half hour, it hurt.

Interestingly besides “just good old getting old stuff” I wonder if I am instinctively holding my body differently in response to having to sort of hide my ideas and feelings.

This hiding is something I have had to do a lot of at the end of this summer.

When I was in under graduate school at Wayne State I remember having lower back pain from practicing. I remember laying prone in a rehearsal room waiting for the pain to become endurable. I think I had  a lot of tension I was working with.

This time, it doesn’t quite feel like tension. It creeps up on me while I practice. I have developed an instinctive tension release at the keyboard. I notice I am doing that a bit less. So there’s probably tension involved as well as holding myself sheepishly or sort of slightly hunched.

This morning I experimented with some fake Alexander alignment stuff as I lay in bed. I could feel the slight remains of the burning ebbing.

If I could afford it, I would take Alexander Technique lessons. But it’s just out of my reach economically and there is no teacher locally.

Without actual lessons, you’re not supposed to be able to learn how to re-align your body and find that balance point between not tensing and consciously relaxing and simply “being.”

Of course Alexander himself figured it out.

He suffered from hoarseness which he eliminated in the course of his discoveries about how to free yourself and your body from bad learned behavior. This learned behavior often stems far back into your life when you learned and adapted a posture and stance.

Yesterday afternoon I knew I should rest for the evening. But I badly wanted to play Beethoven, Scarlatti, and Bach on the piano. I tried resting in between, but I think I did myself in.

Today I have a light schedule. Tomorrow I plunge back in. Hope I can lick this burning thing.

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0 thoughts on “burning sensation

  1. You need to speak to your doctor about this, TODAY. This is not something to cast to the side as a back ache.

  2. I appreciate your concern but as I said in my email I do monitor my health pretty closely. This is minor muscular pain something musicians think quite a bit about. Not debilitating or even that big a deal. But when thinking about how to stay relaxed and performing for hours at a time it catches one’s attention.

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