Pain and some other stuff

When hornists talk about pain it’s usually face, chops, fingers, shoulders, elbow or something related to muscle ache. I’ve developed a pain in my stomach just under my sternum. I have no idea if it’s related to horn playing though it seems to have started around the time I started playing off the leg. That’s a best guess time frame since it’s something I didn’t write down in my horn journal. I’m beginning to think that the start of everyday’s writings in my journal should include a general health check, including how I slept. I bet, at least for an older hornist, there will be some correlation between how one feels and how one plays.

Anyway, back to the pain problem. Have any of you experienced anything like this? It’s a dull ache that comes and goes, sometimes when I’m playing (worst time was at a rehearsal about two weeks ago) and sometimes not, and has been happening for around three months. It’s not a typical stomach type pain – no heartburn or any of the usual stomach gremlins. I have an appointment with the gastroenterologist late this afternoon so if there’s any insight out there please pass it along. I’ll report back after my appointment.

Tomorrow I leave for the Barry Tuckwell Institute in New Jersey. (Great timing.) It promises to be a jam packed five days of everything horn including a master class with Barry. It’s held at the College of New Jersey and we are all staying in the dorms at the school which was quite off-putting to me until I found out there are private baths in all the rooms. Ah- the small things in life. Of the 18 people signed up, it turns out that three of us are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th horns in my Riverhead Monday Night Band. I talked my friend Chris (2nd horn) into going but we both found out Jim (3rd horn) was going when we got the attendee list. We’ve been asked to bring lots of music so there should be plenty of opportunity to play in ensembles or horn and piano. I don’t know if I will have internet access while I’m there so I may not be posting again until Sunday.

Recently I read somewhere that someone played (I don’t know how well) Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro for all-state as a high school sophomore.  This is a piece that I love (I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea) and off in the far recesses of my mind I was thinking that maybe I would try to learn it. However, I have always heard that it is a very difficult piece and I had pretty much written it off as not doable for me yet – I’ve just about got Strauss 1 in good shape. What’s the general consensus for when a student should take on that work and have reasonable success with it?

I hope everyone here in the states had a great 4th of July. After months of rain here on Long Island, we had spectacular weather for this weekend. I actually got out on my bicycle, my other passion, and put in some solid mileage. I’m an endurance rider and by the middle of the summer I should be putting in around 50 miles per ride. You can see some of my experiences on long distance rides here.

Barry Tuckwell Institute – Arrival –>

2 thoughts on “Pain and some other stuff

  1. Overexerted diaphragm? I get a very similar pain when I over-do it, which usually means I am still playing when I should have stopped hours ago. But have a doctor check it out anyway, if it is pain right below your diaphragm, it could be your liver or stomach, which could mean ulcers and 1,000 other scary things.


  2. Interesting! Does your pain go away if you back off? I told the doc yesterday that I play the horn but he didn’t think that was the problem because I have been playing a lot longer than I’ve had the pain. I didn’t get into the on / off leg thing. I’m scheduled for an endoscopy and an ultrasound so I’ll know more after the tests.

    Thanks very much for your comment.


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