Every once in a while, I am brutally reminded that I’m not in my early twenties anymore. *Allow me to adopt an affected nostalgic tone and take a drag on an invisible cigarette* Thoooooose were the days. I could easily practice until midnight, catch some dinner, study until 3 in the morning, wake up around noon, and drag myself to a 2pm orchestra rehearsal without warming up one stitch and be completely fine.
Today, my 36-year-old body was pretty unhappy. I woke up at 6am, had a long (but lovely) drive to the coast, then played over four hours of orchestra rehearsal. My hamstrings, in some bodily phenomenon that I’m still unsure of, decided to rebel against me and make me limp the first few steps every time I stood up. They’re still pretty tight, making me think that I should really add some sort of a physical goal to my #100weeks. Some way to stay physically focused so I can do all the musical things I want without fear of injury.
I got close to it this week. The first performance of Elijah was fantastic, but I felt an unfriendly blast from nerves in my right wrist that I hadn’t felt in a while. I know exactly what it’s from – dreaded thumb tension. It’s a problem I had resolved a while ago, but in an effort to play a very fast and demanding section, I wasn’t being careful. I finished and felt a zap of pins and needles. Something analogous to a little wrist scream. Even with rest the following day, at certain angles I would feel a tiny wrist moan going about my daily tasks.
I was lucky; I was able to format my playing schedule the next couple of days to give it the care it needed. Ice packs, stretching, and wearing a wrist brace at night helped me to fend off the poor wrist becoming any worse. It felt pretty good today, but I’m still trying to be as cautious as possible.
But check out this piece of grace and beauty. This is what I try to keep in mind during this awesome Swan Lake suite we get to play this week. When I play this in the pit at the Oregon Ballet Theater, I can only see a tiny bit of what makes it difficult (the swans hopping together around 3:20, for instance, or lifts of the white swan that take her far above the prince’s head), but it’s still incredibly impressive.
This week, I’m grateful for some incredible musical opportunities I’ve gotten back-to-back. Elijah followed by Swan Lake? There’s very few people for whom it gets so satisfying.
I’m looking forward to a week with no nighttime gigs, where I can musically firm up a few things, and mentally give myself a break in my garden outside.
And physically? Um. It may be time for a more regimented warm-up routine, trying to include the whole body. I may try a 10-minute stretching sequence before and after I practice this week, and see if it makes a difference. I know what would REALLY help, and that’s to get back in to a belly dance routine centered around strength-building and flexibility. So what I really need is someone to watch the kiddo for about 45 minutes a day so I can do that.
Is there a grant out there for that somewhere?