Monday, December 26, 2011

On My Nerves

My hand dilema has a solution! Thanks to an adjustment from Dr. Becca, the weird tingles have been greatly reduced, and we are treating the source of the problem: my stiff neck. It's been almost a week since I last practiced my dulcimer, and she gave me the go ahead to practice my dulcimer, with strict instructions to put the sheet music at eye level.

During my last practice session, I had my music sitting to my left on couch, so I could refer to it time to time as I was trying to memorize the song. Bad idea. My neck muscles tightened up and voila! Pain and tingles in my arm, wrist, and hand that persisted for several days. So I contacted Becca, the same person who inspired me to take up the autoharp in the first place, and got in for an adjustment. Now I will be doing stretches three or more times a day and visiting her for a follow up in a week.

But I got to hold my darling dulcimer and listen to her sweet voice again tonight. I will continue practicing, in moderation, and stretching my neck under the direction of Dr. Becca. Oh, and I'll be adding Yoga in to my daily routine as well. That way I will keep everything stretched and toned so I can continue to grow as a musician. I've been very blessed in having someone I can trust to go to for help. I had never been to a Chiropractor before, and there is no way I would let a stranger adjust my neck that way. Ah the life of a musician!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day of Rest #3

Today is the third day in a row that I have not practiced my dulcimer. Determined to learn to play more with my thumb, I let my stubborn nature take over and for five days I practiced for at least a half an hour a day working my thumb chords in a song. By day five I was getting the hang of it, and I was also getting sore. The next morning I woke with my left hand stiff and occasional pins and needles in my hand, wrist, elbow, and upper arm.

Crap. I over practiced, stupidly ignoring the soreness. Now I'm on day three with not touching my little beauty, and continued soreness. I really hope this isn't the beginning of something chronic, like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But since I am also experiencing some soreness and numbness in my pinky, it's likely just strain and a possible pinched nerve. A few days before the holidays and I can't even play the Christmas Songs I've been working on. If it continues past a week, I will definitely consult with a Chiropractor who specializes in working with musicians. Crazy, stubborn musicians like me, who don't quit when their bodies want them too. So, I'm taking some Ibuprofin and going to bed, in the hopes that things will be better tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Musically Restless

The other night I had a dream that my sister had left an unusual guitar at my house. It had a very wide and short neck with seven strings. On a whim I picked it up to play, and I immediately started playing some lovely tunes. No such guitar exists, and it is just an indication that I am restless in my current musical endeavors. The Mountain Dulcimer practicing is bearing fruit, but more slowly than my early efforts. Adding chord melody playing, fingerpicking and other techniques adds to my learning time. The mountain dulcimer, like the Autoharp, takes a few moments to learn to play and a lifetime to master.

I think I'm doing pretty well at seven months, but there is so much that I want to be able to do RIGHT NOW...sigh. I actually was considering putting the guitar on my new instrument wish list, but I've come to my senses after last night's lesson. I have a ton of songs I'm learning, it's helping with my skill level, but I really want to get ten or so up to performance level within the next few months. So the guitar is off the list and the Autoharp is back on, and my savings has quite a long way to go before I make that kind of a purchase.

Normally my next lesson would be in two weeks, but 'Tis the Season, so my teacher will be off. This will be a good time for me to get that extra fret added to the dulcimer, and I will then embrace my Kantele to tide me over while my darling Mary Ann is in the shop. But I won't be sending her off until after the holidays, it's her first Christmas with us after all! She should be around to enjoy it. :)