Matthew Barley: How a skiing injury changed the way I play

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The British cellist reveals how he overcame the shoulder complaint that threatened his career. From the January 2009 issue

Over the last five or ten years my left shoulder was slowly getting stiffer, to the point that it was affecting my intonation and vibrato, and it was becoming hard to play. I thought I wasn’t practising enough or doing things properly, so last year I cleared out my diary to sort out my technique. But my shoulder got worse. In December 2007 we went on a family skiing holiday, and I had a fall which wasn’t too bad, but by the evening I couldn’t move my left arm. I went to a doctor who told me it was a bruised tendon and that I would be better by the following week. I wasn’t, and although I shouldn’t have, I kept performing, which was terrible. My arm collapsed twice in a performance, with unbelievable pain, and I realised it was serious.

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