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Wrist Pain & Online Teaching

Posted By: TomInCinci

Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:28 AM

I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop. I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong? I actually had an online teacher correct my pedaling but that was from an aural observation.

I deliberately skipped the 'why' regarding getting another teacher for regular lessons. I'm hoping to focus on the one question. I do intend to get back to regular lessons.
Posted By: Animisha

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:43 AM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong?

Maybe! Or why don't you give it a try and post a video here? There are many helpful people here.

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise.

Have you tried doing these exercises as relaxed and slowly as possible? And if you have, do you still get pain?
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:47 AM

No, no videos for me. Piano is a very intimate thing for me and it's hard to even play for a teacher. I only play for my own desire for self improvement. I don't expect folks to understand.

If I do them slowly enough there is no pain. It's when I'm trying to go full speed to 'pass the test' that it hurts.
Posted By: Michael P Walsh

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:58 AM

Hmmm. Why isn't this the time to find a teacher? From your symptoms I'd suggest there will never be a better time.
Having said that if you really have to go skype just make sure the lighting is very good along with the image quality. A few different camera angles would be nice, if that's possible with skype.
Posted By: dmd

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 12:06 PM

Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 12:20 PM

Originally Posted by dmd
Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.



This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 12:31 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci


This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.


How long are your playing sessions ? Does the pain appear relatively quickly after you start and how long has this been going on ? I think unless you are having very long or very intense sessions, having a pain in the wrist is not usual if you have normal piano activity. So it can either be due to what dmd is saying or it could also be a particular weakness that makes you sensitive to repetitive piano playing. Its difficult to isolate the reason without some background of your practice sessions. Some people can do technical exercices without having any issue when others get some injury with much less activity. Depending on your specific case, the approach to adress the issue will be different. For sure until you know what is the problem, you would need to cut back to avoid further injury.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 12:48 PM

Can an online teacher help your technique? Yes, if they are a teacher that in general works on technique (some just do it naturally and arent very helpful in this regard). In a few lessons? Probably not. I say this because your post implies that this is a temporary thing vs finding an in-person teacher.

Also, your problem could be rooted in your playing teechnique in general, which would mean it could take several months to fix. Or, it could simply be you need some help in how to play fast, which could take a month or two.

Playing fast doesn’t at first appear like a problem (“if you can play it slow, you can play it fast” is a highly inaccurate statement), but in fact it comes with its own problems that every pianist needs to work out and it often has little to do with the pianist’s overall health. That is to say, it’s a normal thing to experience what is happening. For now, avoid the exercises and avoid playing tempos beyond what you can do with ease.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 12:50 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop. I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong? .

Why not video yourself (just your hands & forearms, if you're self-conscious about watching "yourself" play - just view the videos dispassionately, as if they're someone else's limbs) playing 'normally' and then while doing those exercises?

You might well see what the problem is yourself - that you're tensing up when stressed with trying to get things right, for example.

Whatever you do, don't let this go on until you develop full-blown RSI, or whatever.

Incidentally, watching oneself play can be quite an eye-opener. I'd never seen myself play (from a side perspective, as opposed to looking down) until I made a video recording a few years ago for a piano website, and then noticed for the first time what my pinkys look like when I play anything other than softly and with my fingers in fairly closed position. Let's just say that I'm very glad that none of my four teachers ever tried to "correct" me on that issue (just as Horowitz's teachers didn't try to correct his unusual use of his pinkys grin) - nor even mentioned it, as I've never had any pain playing the piano, and I can play (almost) anything if I set my mind to it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as a sage would say.......

That's why I never (OK, almost never) critique anyone's videos on PW, or anywhere else.
Posted By: Michael P Walsh

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 01:12 PM

I experienced quite severe wrist pain 4 months after starting to play the piano. It took months of rest to fully recover. My arm/hand position was fine, my shoulder was not (I had previous history of bad posture long before piano). I think the tension in the shoulder spread and resulted in too much tension in the whole arm/hand. Now I'm not suggesting that the OP's problem is exactly the same, just that sometimes the cause can sometimes be a bit further removed than just fingers and wrist.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 02:58 PM

Some good stuff there, thanks all. I'll talk to my old Skype teacher. He's one step away from being a saint and I'd be surprised if he wouldn't give it a try.

Some background: I am remodeling a house and have been doing way more manual labor than my over three decades in an office had me accustomed to. But my wrists never hurt while doing this work. I am capable of over practicing. PianoMarvel sometimes turns me into a ten year old child who can't shut off the video game until all the monsters are slain. I am trying to limit myself to 20 minute sessions but failed again this morning... Ten years or so ago I was told that I would have arthritis (knees) for the rest of my life. I was doing an elimination diet for unrelated reasons and I found that grains seem to give me quite an inflammatory response. No grains, no arthritis symptoms. But I don't kid myself about it. The arthritis could come back.

So I would like to focus on my piano playing and see if I have any visibly bad habits before I head down the various rabbit holes of aging and a medical system that I don't trust. I'm a long way from giving up on piano but the pain is going to have to stop.
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 10:07 PM

Originally Posted by Morodiene
. . . For now, avoid the exercises and avoid playing tempos beyond what you can do with ease.


TomInCinci --

Really, you don't need more than this advice. If you can play an exercise slowly without pain, but it hurts to play it fast:

. . . Don't try to play it fast!

You're trying to "force progress" -- it won't work. You will get faster, and at age 62 (I speak from experience) it will happen gradually.

The answer to "Will a teacher (Skype or otherwise) help?" is:

. . . Try one and find out.

If you regard playing piano as a private activity (and there's nothing wrong with that!), don't be tied to what PianoMarvel _thinks_ is "typical progress". The motto in the gym is:

. . . "Do your own workout, not someone else's."
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:22 PM

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

If you regard playing piano as a private activity (and there's nothing wrong with that!), don't be tied to what PianoMarvel _thinks_ is "typical progress". The motto in the gym is:

. . . "Do your own workout, not someone else's."



I'm struggling to not write the long version of the story of my life here, LOL. I used to enjoy playing guitar with other people a lot. But I hate performing. I only like it with other participants. I have a good analogy but I don't think it would make it past the moderators. Anyway, at this point I don't see my dislike of performing changing. And getting everyone out of the house at this point, well, it could easily be 100% solo for me from this point on.
Posted By: malkin

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/26/19 11:47 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci

I'm starting to get wrist pain. It's never when I'm playing for fun, only when I'm highly stressed and trying to get through a PianoMarvel exercise. This needs to stop.


Is the "This" than needs to stop the pain, the stress or the piano marvel exercise?


Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I'm 62, in excellent health, and determined to keep it that way. I still don't have a teacher and this isn't really the time to begin that search. Do you think that Zoom/Skype/whatever is good enough for someone to spot what I'm doing wrong?
No.


Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I actually had an online teacher correct my pedaling but that was from an aural observation.

ok.

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
I deliberately skipped the 'why' regarding getting another teacher for regular lessons. I'm hoping to focus on the one question. I do intend to get back to regular lessons.

ok.

If your wrist is injured, see a doctor. If your wrist hurts when you play with tension, stop playing with tension. If you want instruction in how to learn to play without tension consistently, employ a teacher.
Posted By: Fidel

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 01:23 AM

TomInCinci,
I hope you tell us how this turns out when you find an answer to your problem.

Wrist pain is a relatively common affliction for piano students. It is vital not to let this fester. Left unresolved it can end your career.

Good luck.
Posted By: earlofmar

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 01:52 AM

I would look at stopping ''racing against the machine'' if this is what your doing with Piano Marvel.
Posted By: MichaelJK

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 05:11 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Originally Posted by dmd
Usually pain from playing piano comes from repetitive motion.

If you are playing the same phrase over and over and over and over ….. in a attempt to improve it …. that is what is causing it.

If you are tensed while doing it …. that makes it even worse.

You have to stop doing that.



This is probably it. Trying to play with any accompaniment, even a metronome, feels like someone is chasing me with a knife. I'm just one false step away from disaster.


Fixing this kind of problem requires developing a great deal of awareness. The problem is, when you feel like someone is chasing you with a knife, it can be hard to pay attention to what is actually going on in your body.

It might be worth exploring what it would take to stop feeling like you are being chased. Or, even if you are being chased, what it would take to stop running. What would happen if you just let them catch up to you? There might be some freedom there...

The more you enjoy your practicing, the more you will learn. So, stop running and try to enjoy yourself (regardless of how "fast" you are playing...).
Posted By: Stubbie

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 05:29 PM

Originally Posted by earlofmar
I would look at stopping ''racing against the machine'' if this is what your doing with Piano Marvel.

This is your first step.

Forcing speed is a recipe for tension, with pain to follow. You are playing for yourself. You don' have to play fast. Fast comes with time and experience, and without pain.
Posted By: Charles Cohen

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 08:44 PM

Quote
. . I used to enjoy playing guitar with other people a lot. But I hate performing. I only like it with other participants.


i understand that. It's the difference between singing in church, and singing in the church choir. Or playing in a drum circle, against performing for an audience.

The metronome (or any speed-measuring device) is a vicious taskmaster. If it becomes your "audience", you'll get tense:

. . . You'll start to hurt, and

. . . your playing will slow down.

Do the exercises at a _comfortable speed_. As you practice, your "comfortable speed" will increase. Maybe not as quickly as you want. Maybe not as much as PianoMarvel expects.

. . . But it's a "Do your own workout" situation.

A question:

. . Have you tried playing to a backing track ?

Depending on the exercise, if your DP has some built-in rhythms, try starting one up _slowly_, at a speed you can handle. You might find that having a "groove" running in the background helps -- or it might feel like somebody chasing you with a knife!<g> In which case, turn it off.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/27/19 10:00 PM

Originally Posted by Charles Cohen

A question:

. . Have you tried playing to a backing track ?

Depending on the exercise, if your DP has some built-in rhythms, try starting one up _slowly_, at a speed you can handle. You might find that having a "groove" running in the background helps -- or it might feel like somebody chasing you with a knife!<g> In which case, turn it off.



Um, the PianoMarvel exercises are mostly played to a backing track. You have full control of the tempo, which I will come back to. You only get a score at full tempo. Slowed down it only shows you the notes you missed.

I'm convinced now that I have a minor injury. I took my dogs for a 3 mile walk (anything over 2 miles means you are legally required to report the distance smile ) and my left wrist hurt every time they pulled on me. Now that I can and will remedy. It's hard to teach 2 dogs to heal but nothing compared to how hard it is to teach me piano.

I've been reading & watching a lot of recommended material (some of it sent privately, mind you). I think I can learn to play with less tension. As some of you have either said or alluded to, I need to put my ego aside and take however long it takes to get through the exercises. Forcing speed to receive some daily affirmation from a computer screen is causing me to tense up, as well as killing the joy of learning. I told myself today that I don't give a rat's behind how long it takes to get through this material or how long someone else takes to do it. I need my hands. I'm making a conscious effort to let go and relax and I'm using a timer to limit myself to 20 minutes of practice at a time. I'm still going to check into having my old Skype instructor watch me play but it's a holiday in the USA and I haven't reached out to him yet.
Posted By: malkin

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/28/19 11:46 AM

RICE
rest, ice, compression, elevation
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/28/19 11:58 AM

Originally Posted by malkin
RICE
rest, ice, compression, elevation


Thanks. My self image has me being smart enough to think of this one on my own but it actually wasn't occurring to me. A day, or even a few days, of no piano isn't going to kill me. But I'm going to need to give up the other keyboard as well, since I can't be sure what has caused this. I only hope the internet doesn't completely collapse without my wisdom!
Posted By: malkin

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 05/28/19 12:19 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
Originally Posted by malkin
RICE
rest, ice, compression, elevation


Thanks. My self image has me being smart enough to think of this one on my own but it actually wasn't occurring to me. A day, or even a few days, of no piano isn't going to kill me. But I'm going to need to give up the other keyboard as well, since I can't be sure what has caused this. I only hope the internet doesn't completely collapse without my wisdom!


It is easy to forget the obvious, especially when we are under stress, and any injury certainly qualifies as stress.
The amount and the degree of rest varies according to the problem. Sometimes it is enough to stop doing the thing that hurts you. Other times you need more rest than that.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/01/19 12:18 PM

Just a courtesy follow up since so many of you offered ideas...

I haven't heard back from my physician. I'd wager he's on vacation. The RICE idea definitely seemed to help. I hate the wrist wraps but they help. The ice hurts like heck but only while I'm using it. I need a new weed trimmer. I have a 4 cycle Honda and it's way too heavy for me at the stage of life. It definitely tortures my wrists since I can't use the strap. And I had a session with a real teacher. Even through we had massive internet problems (on my end) he could see the tension that I could not. I was probably headed for trouble even without the trimmer. He's basically giving me the same advice as some of the videos you all sent me. The concepts are simple. The practice is torture. Until I get this down I have to step back way below where I thought I was and forget about playing anything at a tempo that sounds musical to me. I suppose it's a cold, hard, fact of nature that sometimes the things you hate are good for you and the things you enjoy are not. I did learn to swim across the deep end of the pool a couple of years ago. As hard as this is, at least I don't think there's much of a chance that I'll foul the piano bench...
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/01/19 03:54 PM

Hopefully if you get the tension sorted out, you'll be back up to speed in no time. I have a tendon problem in my right hand and wrist. I can't comfortably lift anything heavy that makes my wrist want to twist, such as a full kettle. It causes me no problems at the piano at all.

I hate wrist straps too, but found them very useful on occasion. I have no doubt you'll manage to sort something out that will work for you. There was a time when I could hardly use my right hand without pain. I was fortunate to be assigned a wonderful physio at the hospital who knew quite a bit about the piano. She was able to give me tips to ensure piano playing wouldn't aggravate my wrist.
Posted By: Dreamingstill

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/03/19 03:08 AM

TomInCinci, Dogs will cause a number of hands and elbows injuries as they have a tendency to pull forward or sideways without warning even when they are well-trained. A simple solution: Use a belt, fix a ring to it, and clip the leashes to it. Then you don't need your hands as much and your body mass can be used instead of your hands. The leashes need to have a bungee inside them to cushion sudden movements.

A pet store in your area that offers dog-sport equipment should carry a selection. This store https://www.canvasbackpets.com/collections/dog-sledding-pulling has a good selection and will ship to the US. They also have couplers to put two dogs on one leash. Explore and save your wrists.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/03/19 11:34 AM

Originally Posted by Dreamingstill
TomInCinci, Dogs will cause a number of hands and elbows injuries as they have a tendency to pull forward or sideways without warning even when they are well-trained. A simple solution: Use a belt, fix a ring to it, and clip the leashes to it. Then you don't need your hands as much and your body mass can be used instead of your hands. The leashes need to have a bungee inside them to cushion sudden movements.

A pet store in your area that offers dog-sport equipment should carry a selection. This store https://www.canvasbackpets.com/collections/dog-sledding-pulling has a good selection and will ship to the US. They also have couplers to put two dogs on one leash. Explore and save your wrists.


Thanks! My Pitt is strong as an ox and wants to go after every squirrel and rabbit along the way. He's actually very friendly and very wimpy but he's easily distracted. So unless I want to be dragged into the path of a garbage truck it's critical that both dogs are completely under control. I use a leash that has 2 snap hooks on it, one for their regular collar and a second, shorter one, for a pinch collar. I know the pinch collars cause some negative perceptions but they keep us all safe. The only issue I have is when we don't walk regularly and some of us forget what 'heal' means. We walked last night without nothing more than voice corrections.

I overcame my aversion to pinch collars after we got our German Shepherd. I was teaching her to walk on a leash after a life as a 'free range' dog. Like a fool I was using a 10 foot leash. Even worse, I lost situational awareness for a second. She was at the end of the leash and went after something in the opposite direction while I was checking out a sick tree in our woods. She ran 20 feet at top speed and jerked me and my herniated disks with a violent twisting motion. It looked like something from a cartoon as her neck stopped at the end of the leash and her body continued in the original direction. I had to walk with a cane for a week. The dog, of course, showed no sign of injury and was ready to do it again.
Posted By: Dreamingstill

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/04/19 02:09 AM

Ah yes, this is why you need a leash with a bungee to absorb the shocks! While the spring extends when the dog takes a sudden run/turn you have just enough time to grab the leash with both hands and add your arms' strength to stop the hound and stay upright. Of course, responding to voice commands is ideal, but... I ran sled dogs for about four decades, I think I have seen most of the tricks dogs get up to...

Take care,
Posted By: Living_tribunal

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/04/19 05:31 PM

I'm not a fan of online lessons. There are so many things that will get missed when you have an online instructor from technique to more importantly sounds/musicality.

Regarding the wrist pain while doing scales, when I first started heavy practice (45min - 1 hour of scales a day) I was definitely getting sore wrists. My teacher had me press each key very heavy to strengthen up my fingers. My wrists also get extra sore when doing long arpeggio practice.

If you're new then some soreness will happen if you're aggressive with your scales practice. This goes away once you have that 4th finger strength. Just make sure to take breaks every few minutes. If you bust out scales for 45 minutes straight without pause you will certainly be sore.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/05/19 12:39 PM

Originally Posted by Dreamingstill
Ah yes, this is why you need a leash with a bungee to absorb the shocks! While the spring extends when the dog takes a sudden run/turn you have just enough time to grab the leash with both hands and add your arms' strength to stop the hound and stay upright. Of course, responding to voice commands is ideal, but... I ran sled dogs for about four decades, I think I have seen most of the tricks dogs get up to...

Take care,


I can't even imagine how you ever get a team of sled dogs trained. I've been through several pairings of dogs as mine, sadly, age and pass away. It's always the same issue training a pair of them to heal. It becomes a contest, like nearly everything they do, to see who can get at least a nose ahead. It starts with just a nose and in no time I'm getting my left arm yanked. Every year I train this out of them and then after a few months off for the winter the behavior comes back.

This is probably similar the the frustrations I've caused for my piano teachers... smile
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/25/19 09:59 PM

Since I came here to bum advice I thought another follow up was appropriate...

My Skype teacher definitely had me change my ways. It was hard and I have to think about what I'm doing but I think it will be automatic some day. But I had a very bad internet connection for the Skype session. It's amazing that he could see anything. Well, I'm out of the wrist wraps now and maybe I'm gonna be lucky. And last night I had some actual time with a teacher in person and she taught me how to do C-E-G-C arpeggios (the exercise that started this) without pain. She taught me to rotate my wrists in the horizontal plane instead of violently stabbing out my rightmost fingers to reach the octave. It's nothing to be proud of but I'm not convinced I would have figured it out on my own.

No one is healthy forever, and I can't swear it's not arthritis that's going to come back with a vengeance, but today I'm quite content. Not giving up piano yet!
Posted By: Tyrone Slothrop

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/25/19 10:10 PM

Originally Posted by TomInCinci
My Skype teacher definitely had me change my ways. It was hard and I have to think about what I'm doing but I think it will be automatic some day. But I had a very bad internet connection for the Skype session. It's amazing that he could see anything.

Just a suggestion but I was something you might consider is trying Zoom.us. It is free to try, although to be able to turn off audio compression which is good for piano lessons, they do want one side of the connection to be paid subscriber (for reference, Skype has audio compression which cannot be turned off). I used to use Skype too and had problems with lag, and Zoom has been great on the same connection. Just in the last two weeks, I've had some video issues start, but this is not due to connection speed but because my computer was just set up badly so it is now overloaded, but before this happened, I had only about one video issue in about 2-3 months.
Posted By: TomInCinci

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/25/19 10:40 PM

Yeah, I have some business meetings where Zoom is used. But my guy still uses Skype. Here at home where I have a fiber optic line I thought it worked pretty well. At 'work' where I'm running a repeater, well not so great. But it was a one time thing. I lost my nice home office where I used to do the Skype thing.
Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: Wrist Pain & Online Teaching - 06/26/19 03:54 AM

"...If you bust out scales for 45 minutes straight without pause you will certainly be sore...."

Maybe. Didn't happen for me, but maybe it was because I took so long to learn all of them that it may have served as a protective factor. Anyway, I do them a bit differently than I have seen in books, Hanon, etc. I run up and down the whole keyboard with each scale, three times: first and last in duple time, as you usually see them. The middle run is in triplets. It breaks up the monolithic habit that can form, it's kind of fun, and some of them are actually easier in triple meter.

I do them every day, but not the whole lot. One day is sharp key signatures, the other is the flat keys. It used to take 45 minutes, but now I run right through them in less than 30. This never makes my hands sore. Omitting the warm-ups is what makes them sore. My tech (a Performance major who now tunes instead) has weaned me away from the early Hanon pages (which can, indeed, make for trouble if the posture, and hand/arm movements, are not guarded) and instead going to the Bach "Inventions." It's real music and it works on several things at once. Power-lifting. So to speak. It is also a perimeter guard, fending off senility. When some neural paths have been destroyed, it shows up right away and you do something right away to fix the damage.

There's always a new thing to learn or to work on that is challenging for awhile... but boredom never has a chance to get much of a hold. Tom the OP, I'm so glad to hear you take up the challenge of learning to get where you want to be, in a new way that doesn't destroy your physical well-being or throw your career as a musician off the tracks. When train wrecks happen to musical people, it is so heartbreaking. Yours may be the first to break, but it won't be the only one.

"...when the dog takes a sudden run/turn you have just enough time to grab the leash with both hands and add your arms' strength to stop the hound and stay upright. Of course, responding to voice commands is ideal, but..."

Not to be too fussy about it, but Pits [American Staffordshire Terriers] belong to the terrier clade. I'm sure you know the difference. My dogs are Basenjis, in the hound group. When they put their 30-pounds of excited dog muscle into something really exciting like a squirrel, a bitch, or anything moving past fast enough to chase, it's a jerk your hands, wrists, and arms (and maybe, back) will remember, unless you are very, very pro-active. They can run 40 mph and chew through tire rubber....

But I don't care. I love them for what they are. I hear what you say about the keen sadness that comes with their fleeting lives. One of mine that I am so crazy about, is 16 (14 is a ripe age for this breed; many don't go past 12) and has bad cataracts and a seizure disorder. Yet, he is still having a good time, and wants to stay with us. I don't care that the upkeep is so much higher; I'll put up with anything. I'm still learning from this fellow, and he still loves his daddy.

Sorry about the long divergent tangents. It is good luck that your issue, which made you ask for help, had been taken care of by the time I saw the thread.
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