\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to cope with the desire to play and not having enough physical strength because of illness (Read 1368 times)

Offline ignaceii

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 193
Hello,
Being at home now for 6 years, having to restrict occupations, almost everything down to a very low level, I  wonder sometimes seei ngg my  great upright Steingraber standing there, 8 years old, at the most, is it worth continuing ?
My back can't stand almost nothing anymore, up to the head because of years of heavy muscle contractions. I still can play, but yeh, not as I would like.
ok, many will say, enjoy every moment you can play, but do not quit.  I understand this of course, but it is hard,.
Curiously, my technique didn't degrade so much, but I can only work for 15 minutes and have to stop then. . So a whole Beethoven movement is too long.
And it takes energy, as my head sometimes is not focussed, but more weary.  The  suffering  of course is not limited to the piano, but as an autodidact with some years of private lessons I was proud of what I had achieved and the piano still is my passion.

I just wanted you all to put yourself in my position and wonder what to do.
Still exercising.
Stopping.
Make a workplan. Any ideas.
Just play what you love and accept.
Not trying to progress anymore.
Sell the piano. No
...
Thanks for sharing with me your thoughts, how bizar they also might be.

Ignace
Belgium

Offline indianajo

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1105
Well, my sympathy.  It tough to have a hobby you love and not be able to do it.  Most athletes go through this at some point, whereas we musicians tend to keep improving into our dotage.  
If your problem is caused by sitting up and holding your arms out for long periods, there might not be much hope for the piano.  However,unweighted electric keyboards are not affected by position, and could be mounted horizontally over a bed, or couch, for example. You could weld up some sort of mount using a hospital rollaway cart.  You could then play from a prone position.  
I'm particularly lightly formed in the hands and forearms, and find most grand pianos too heavy to play.  Some verticle pianos are designed to replicate the touch of a grand, Steinway for example, and I cannot play those for long.  Fortunately my Mother bought herself a piano with a very light touch, a 1949 Everett, that I learned to play on. In maturity I was able to find a 1982 Sohmer 39 that also has a very light touch.  Both these pianos had no problem playing very softly with consistency, unlike some other brands I've played lately.    My pain comes as tendonitis in the hands however, not involving the head and neck muscles.  A lighter touch than your current piano may not help. Steingrabber is not sold in the middle of the USA, I don't know how heavy the touch of one is as I have never seen one.  
Good luck.  If piano cannot continue to be learned, you might think of a musical instrument less physical.  The acoustic guitar needs to stand away from the body for resonance, but an electric guitar is solid wood and could be played lying down.  Then, in the USA at least.  there is the autoharp.  

Offline Mayla

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6638
"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline chopin2015

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2134
"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."

Offline outin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 8212

My back can't stand almost nothing anymore, up to the head because of years of heavy muscle contractions. I still can play, but yeh, not as I would like.

Since I also struggle with muscle and back issues, I can relate. Quitting never seems like a good thing if it's something you really want to do. At least if there's anything more you can try.
Have you considered a special stool, where you could actually get support for the back while playing? You may need to be innovative about it, maybe even work one out yourself to get the proper hight. I sometimes wonder if one could use a comfortable and adjustable office chair with handles and wheels removed. The other thing that might help is to wear a neck support, if it's a soft one, it doesn't necessarily bother your playing too much. And of course there are back supports available as well.


Offline ignaceii

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 193
Well people, thank you so far for the nice comments.
I tested my Steingräber and Sons against the upright Steinway, quite a difference. Steingräber felt much more like a grand (it has the price of a grand to) compared to the Steinway, which costs twice as much. Liszt owned a Steingräber in Weimar.
Sad, now that it becomes time for her (the piano) to begin showing what she can in terms of colours, dynamics, the operator let's down, and yes, that hurts even more.
I tried this afternoon with the Waldstein, part of it, pretty good and the op 30 nr 1, part, but my back was like mushed potatoes after watching a doc on Bach before. Too much.
But I'm glad I haven't lost it. It could play in my advantage as I used to rush things, now I have to slow down.
So, even the saddest stories people have their own world of nice things to discover.
I must try one day the idea of a chair, stool, with cushen. Gould, Lupu played on chairs so...
And perhaps it is time to discover harmonics, which, together with theory I never had in academy.
How, that is another story. I have a book on Harmonics at the piano. Too tiring. We'll see.
And if everything fails, there is always mathematics which I adore, and music and maths are married so to say.
 
Perhaps I'll here from you again, but for now it is goodbye.

Oh, I replied on the YuYu conversation. If someone is interested.