Teacher and I have a mutual 10 year old friend; she’s how we came to know one another.  Unfortunately, she’s been injured due to some whiplash-type trauma and unable to play the violin for a few months.  As she’s been trying to get back into it, she’s been working with a physical therapist her parents have told me they really like.

Yesterday Teacher told me that she went to one of our friend’s PT appointments with her, both as a technical advisor to the kinds of motion we need our bodies to engage in as we play our instruments and to make sure the PT didn’t have an irrational hatred of the violin.

Yes, you read that right.  Our friend, you see, has been cleared to do all of the kicking and punching and rolling and falling of the wonderfully physically challenging karate practice that I also happen to share with her, but she has not been cleared to play the violin.

Hearing Teacher tell this story was pretty sad, I must say.  She says this PT guy seems motivated by animus toward the violin.  I noted that it sounded like a kind of anti-violin bigotry, something I’ve not encountered before.  OK, we do understand that the violin is asymmetrical, and you tilt your head, blah blah blah, but apparently he was also betraying a much deeper loathing with his expression and tone of voice – as if Teacher were a purveyor of rufies or something truly loathsome.

We speculated that perhaps Mr. PT had a truly horrible violin teacher as a child who psychologically scarred him.  While we’re happy he seems devoted to properly caring for our mutual friend, we also, of course, agree that playing the violin is a lovely thing to do.  Just because something isn’t perfect for our bodies doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Julie Libel · · Reply

    Not sure, Ryan, but I do know that violinists have a great deal of neck & shoulder problems. Nancy Luttrell has suffered greatly for many years. She has been in the symphony for many, many years. She has tried many types of PT. It does come with it’s own set of physical trauma. Mom

  2. I think some people might be prone to troubles, but I really do think most people do just fine. Sad that it sounds like the violin is Nancy’s livelihood; when something hurts that bad it’s good if we can let it go. Some people just can’t do karate either for non-cooperative body reasons – I sure hope my 10 year old friend can eventually do both! She LOVES the violin and switched from cello a while back.

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