by Lorie Estanislao, alumni parent
As the parent of an alum, I was fortunate to attend the first 2023-4 CMPI family meeting on injury prevention with my son Mateo. Mateo started with CMPI his junior year of high school, practicing the required 10 hours per week, and six months later he was injured with tendinitis in both elbows. Healing from that injury and injury prevention has become a priority.
I began to question why we were not talking about injuries. Also, with the expectation to practice 10 hours a week, why were there never any conversations about warming up your body and stretching? While his private lesson teacher talked about core exercises and a regimen of what he should work on for practicing, in all his educational experiences and youth orchestra, there were no conversations about stretching, taking breaks during practice, stopping when your body part does not feel right, or resting after concerts…until my son was injured.
When I found out SD Rehab was coming to share their expertise with CMPI fellows and their families I was thrilled! Last May, at our last family meeting, injuries were brought up as a concern by many parents and fellows. It is exciting to be part of an organization that listens to us. Ironically, the day before the meeting Mateo had a flare up of his tendinitis in his left elbow. We were grateful to attend and receive guidance on this situation.
Stephanie, the owner of SD Rehab, was knowledgeable and empowering. She wants to change the culture of injuries with musicians, to normalize prevention and seeking therapy before it gets worse. It was also great to have the perspective and insight of Thomas, who is a physical therapist and a musician.
In every experience you learn something. In hindsight, I would have talked to Mateo more about how his body was feeling, especially when he increased his practicing. When I noticed that he was hurting I should have encouraged more rest time, heat/ice, and stretching. Also, I would have encouraged him to look into how to practice more efficiently. With school, outside-of-school music commitments, and practicing, time management is important for your physical health, too.
If I knew what I know now, I would have sought out professional advice sooner. Mateo also shared that, “teenagers are stubborn; we need to listen to our parents,” so it may take some pushing on the part of parents. Lastly, I encourage videotaping practice sessions, as you can see how the body is working much more clearly.
Mateo with SD Rehab