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Are there any excersizes to build endurance for long periods of playing? When I have to play for several sets my fingers start to go numb on my left hand and my bow hand gets really tired. When I stop playing, it all returns to normal
I know that my age is against me. I am 66. I played piano thru my childhood and switched to classical guitar which I played until I was 50 and I picked up my first fiddle. But I have cut to part time at my regular job and gig (fiddle) in a couple of bands to earn extra money. If I have to keep working I want to do something I love and music is IT.

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playing in itself will build endurance. I'd make sure to stretch before and after playing. I didnt at first and I was sore in my bow shoulder.
HI Nlta, The left hand numbness is probably not due to lack of endurance, but to nerve compression. I would guess it's the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel. Sounds like you may be playing with the wrist flexed (bent)too much. This, in conjunction with the supination that takes place, can cause pressure. You may need to ask a good classical violin teacher about left hand position. I am not a teacher, but a fiddler who is also a hand therapist. I would have to see you to diagnose this better, but this is my cyber guess. Good right hand positioning that will reduce tension in the arm may help the fatigue on the bow arm.
Let me know how it goes.
PS.I am very close to the same age as you and ,sadly, age could be a part of it though I refuse to believe it!
Addendum: Be sure to warm up slowly and take frequent breaks. Do some stretches that are in reverse of the position you are in when you play. I could write a book about this but these are some basics.
I thank you all for your good advice. As a classical guitarist for many years , I have always been careful about correct hand position and technique. I am doing much better now because I finally quit working and have more time to practice. In fact not working has so eased the stress on my hands and wrists that I have picked up the guitar again. I had given it up because of wrist problems. Turns out it wasnt' the guitar. It was the job. Of course fiddle is my main instrument now.
With more time for warmups and practice, my technique has really improved as has my intonation. Yayyyy for retiring.
Carol, my jury is out on the age thing. I still believe myself capable of much and refuse to submit to thinking 'old".
But then I see a photograph om myself I think "holy cow, who the heck is that old lady." I have listened to recordings of Segoviia in his 80's and while he was a bit slower, his sensitivity and interpretation was wonderful.
And when I can't fiddle anymore I'm going to make my grandkids and great grandkids sit and listen to storys about when the snow was 5 feet deep and all the roads went uphill.


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