6 years ago

Volume 15 Issue 1 - September 2009

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  • September
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44 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM September 1 - October 7, 2009

MUSICAL LIFE:HEALTH MATTERSIn Tune with MusclesBones and Nervesby mJ buellWren Canzoneri is a violinist: studied at Curtis,61 years old, plays with the Hamilton Philharmonic,occasionally subs with the TSO. Healso runs a business called TorMusic Entertainment– contracting musicians for corporate,private, and commercial performances.I had a separated shoulder from a skiing accidentin 1985. Looking back I’ve had problemswith my back since my 20s, but when I wasthe Assistant Concertmaster for Showboat, awhile ago, my back went totally out of whack,and I found myself in and out of various kindsof physio. At the time it was probably yogathat helped the most… . Recently all theshoulder problems cropped back up: a lot ofpain, spasms in my shoulder, neck, and arm.Wendy Rose (Associate Principal Violinist inthe TSO) said I should see Ginette Hamel,who works part-time out of the Artist’s HealthCentre but also sees clients at her home.Ginette thinks the problem is “bio-mechanical”:having to do with the way bones,muscles and nerves work (or not) together.There are 3 or 4 nerves needing to be freedin my neck, so I’m learning some exercisesshe calls “nerve gliding”, and learning aboutstretching and relaxation for the muscles neededto play the violin.We’re also working on strengthening somethingcalled the multifidus muscles ( in yourback): it’s what dancers use to stabilize thelower body: as a violinist you need them tobe able to sit properly. What I’m hoping toachieve is not to have pain so that I can continueto do a lot of playing into my 70s.Ginette doesn’t give you a general programme.Her approach is “Okay.. what preciselydo you have to do, and what isn’t working,?”And then we work together…Ginette Hamel is a physiotherapist whohas worked for more than two decades withelite and amateur athletes of all kinds. Youwill find her clients competing at internationalgames, but also at renowned ballet schools,in dance companies, and on stage and in theGinette HamelMarketPlace: Education and Health pits with Canada’s finest ballet, opera, andsymphony orchestras.“Dancers as athletes” isn’t a new concept:over time it has benefited both communities,affecting how dancers and athletes think ofthemselves in terms of body awareness andself-care. The public has come to have anincreasingly sophisticated appreciation forpeople who are able to push their bodies toachieve extraordinary things, but without thecorresponding need to glorify the pain andinjuries.Ginette began working in sports physiotherapybut says the leap to working withdancers, which began with the Royal WinnipegBallet, “just made sense.” She wasimmediately struck by how much need therewas for a similarly specialized approach.There’s no point in saying to athletes ordancers “well if it hurts just don’t do it anymore”.They have too much at stake doingsomething they love, are driven to do. Youhave to find out how they can be more comfortable,and why something is not working…you teach them to be more aware of theirbodies, to pay attention, so that they can beeven better at what they do.But musicians as athletes? This is a conceptwhose time has not only come but islong overdue. Ginette confirms that a longstandingstigma has kept many working musiciansfrom admitting even to themselves, thatthey were “working wounded”.They used to be so afraid, if they toldsomeone they were hurting, they would not behired. That this made them look bad.Working with dancers at the innovativeWholenoteMarketPlace adsare now also online!GEOFFREY MOULLOpera Coach(519) 208-1246gmoull@yahoo.comContactADART@thewholenote.comSeptember 1 - October 7, 2009 WWW.THEWHOLENOTE.COM 45

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