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Your Viola News! Issue #002 -- Prevent & eliminate musicians' injuries
August 19, 2009
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VIOLA NEWS! * * * * Issue 02 * * * * 19 August 2009

Hello viola lover,

for the players in this list, I thought it may be of interest to you to know that

Kato Havas teaching DVD: How to prevent and eliminate physical injuries and mental anxiety in VIOLA (and VIOLIN) playing

is available for purchase over the Internet from Viola in Music. It gives practical information and exercises based on physiological, natural movements.

That of physical injuries deriving from playing an instrument has become an issue more and more musicians are aware of, especially professionals, so this DVD may provide valuable information to every player.

This issue of physical injuries is a lot talked about nowadays, not so when Kato Havas books were published in the 1960s. I myself have experienced that the New Approach applies to viola players even more than to violin players, because the viola is quite bigger than the violin, therefore there is the tendency to strain the body even more: more pressure with the head and more hunching the shoulder to hold the bigger, heavier instrument; more pressure with the left hand, especially when playing double stops; more pressure with the bow to produce the sound.

For more information, keep reading.

How to Prevent and Eliminate Physical Injuries in VIOLA playing

Have you ever suffered from any aches and pains in your shoulder, neck, forearms, thumbs, or even serious tendonitis or tendinitis, tenosynovitis, fibrositis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.? Have you ever heard (I did) of anyone who had to undergo surgery because of physical injuries caused by playing an instrument? I personally know more than one who then stopped playing altogether, even after the surgery.

Have you ever suffered from serious nerves that prevented you from playing for any sort of audience, as well as you can do when you play on your own? All these things are interrelated.

Maybe you've been told that's "part of the game", that there is nothing you can do about it, but it's not true, it doesn't have to be so.

There is no point in having rests when practicing, massages, undergoing surgery, taking painkillers to be able to keep playing despite the pain (the worst thing to do). If you don't address the cause (incorrect use of the body when playing) of the problem, you'll have the same effect (physical injury).

Who is Kato Havas?

Kato Havas is a violin and viola teacher who, several years ago, was the first one to talk about how to prevent and eliminate physical injuries in viola and violin playing and has been teaching for about fifty years.

Kato Havas was a child prodigy on the violin and received the traditional Hungarian virtuoso training at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest. Later she developed the "New Approach", a way to teach and play to prevent and eliminate physical injuries. By teaching it, she realised that it also eliminates nerves, stage fright, related to string playing. This approach was illustrated in her book "A New approach to violin playing", published in 1961. Then she also published other books and this teaching video which is of great help to understand everything better.

The originality of Kato Havas

This issue of physical injuries is a lot talked about nowadays, especially among professional players, not so when Kato Havas books were published in the 1960s.
What is different in Kato Havas's teaching, compared to other books and studies published more and more often, in recent times, is not only that she was the first one to become aware of this problem about fifty years ago, but also that she teaches how to prevent and eliminates physical injuries from a musician's point of view. Every movement is done not just because is good for the body, but it has a musical reason, every movement is in the service of music.

Contents of the DVD

"We all have the same aspiration, that of being able to release the full force of our inherent energy impulses into a powerful musical flow. ... The magic of music is in its transiency... Why is this aspiration, so often, so elusive? What are the causes for all these aches and pains and mental anxieties?"

From this DVD you'll learn about:
  • The three major causes of injuries
  • The three preventive and curative answers
  • Remedies for the hanging weight of the instrument
  • The flying fiddle
  • The "no violin/viola hold"
  • The "no bow hold"
  • The bow's middle-by-balance
  • A doctor's view
  • Optical illusions in viola and violin playing, that mislead us, and remedies for those
  • How to use your eyes properly
  • The two "joints" that control bowing technique
  • The importance of singing and miming
  • The real length of eight positions
  • How to use imagination to train you left hand to be soft and springy
  • The swinging fingers
  • The controlling part of the left hand
  • The "interval shapes" in your hand and in double stops
  • The "Japanese fan" exercise
  • The balance between the left thumb and little finger
  • The high positions and the curve interval swings
  • The natural vibrato

  • Practical exercises for all of the above mentioned

and once you've got all that, to finish

  • The ultimate coordination: what coordinates and activates all movements

This DVD is for practical use, don't just sit there watching it, stop and do what it says. If you've enjoyed watching the videos of Kato Havas workshop, then you can't miss this teaching video on DVD. If you've ever been looking for it, you know that it is very difficult to find. Now from here you can get it easily

and learn how to prevent end eliminate physical injuries.

Watch it tens of times and it's cheaper than ONE lesson and if you've read her books, you'll find this video great because you can actually see what's written in the books and it will help you to understand it much better.

Click on the link to see the teaching DVD cover and the DVD inside the box.

Happy playing!

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