In my last post I wrote about my surgery. Literally the day after that post, Christmas eve, I began to play again. It was the best Christmas present in the world! I began playing in increments of 15 minutes at a time, a couple of times a day. I was amazed by several things. First of all, I had no endurance, and no strength. Moving the middle finger across the string was like lifting a heavy weight, and the little movements involved felt like I was really stretching my tendon. The 15 minutes were all that I could take without being in pain, and pain is never a good thing when you are playing! (As opposed to physical therapy, where if you aren’t in pain you aren’t doing it right!)
Over the course of the week I was able to increase the number of times I practiced to 3, then to 4 times, and felt pretty good. By New Years day I felt confident that I could increase my sessions to 20 minutes at a time. The additional 5 minutes made a difference; I could definitely feel more fatigue in my hand, but there was no pain involved so I kept it up.
The following week I was out of town at a conference of the Florida Music Educators Association, where I had students performing, and where I presented a session geared toward helping classroom music teachers with no real guitar background, but who found themselves having to teach guitar. Because of the exhausting nature of conferences, and because I knew that my entire schedule would be upset I didn’t attempt any changes in my practice routine. In fact, although I stuck to my 20 minute limit, I was not able to get to it 4 times every day. I was surprised that I had any time to practice at all!
January 13 I tried to increase my practice time to 25 minutes. At the very end of the first 25 minutes, my hand began to cramp, so I backed off to 20 minute sessions for the rest of the day – still keeping them to 4 total. The next day I tried 25 minutes again, but made a point to pay close attention to my hand and keep it very relaxed. I was able to do the full 25 without any pain, and repeated it 3 more times.
My plan at this point is to try for 30 minutes, which has been my normal practice session for many years now. I’ll do it 4 times a day this week, and try increasing it to 5 the following. If that works out well, the week after that I can try 6, which brings me to the normal amount of time that I practice while school is in session.
My goal has been to be back up to speed by February, and I’ve been particularly motivated because my new CD will be released then. I have been planning to have a “release party” – more concert than party actually – at the end of the month. I’m feeling pretty good because I seem to be on target so far.
And, of course, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I’m already selling copies from my website, and I’d like to invite all my readers to consider purchasing a copy by clicking the link below: