The Body Conforms

I have been thinking a lot lately about how over the years of playing a musician's body conforms to what they do. Sometimes you see this in a trumpet player's lips, sometimes they show exactly where the mouthpiece has sat those many, many hours.  Often, however, this kind of physical change is considered a sign of poor technique, or pushing your body too hard.

Recently I met some piano players who didn't have what many would necessarily consider 'good' technique, but were able to play what they needed to play for their specific gig. When we talked technique, a couple of them showed me that they had hands almost like claws, tough and worn, seeming like no amount of abuse could damage them.  While I have some tougher muscles that have developed over the years, like what I think is called the "Abductor digiti minimi", I tend to think pushing your body to the edge and hoping it finds a way to make do is not the way to go.
A construction worker who knew i was a pianist shook my hand the other day and said (perhaps disdainfully) "Soft hands of an artist." I hope to keep them that way. 

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