Staying Healthy, Staying Musical



Have you ever felt fatigued after a long day of rehearsals? Or experienced an injury from playing your instrument?

Playing and performing music is one of the most rewarding experiences there are, whether you do it for a career or for your own personal enjoyment. It is our life. To keep performing music to our fullest, we must take care of the instrument that allows us to express ourselves: not just the instrument that we play, but also our bodies.

In a national survey of orchestral musicians, 76% reported having experienced a serious injury during their career. [1] Musicians don’t always remember to take care of their bodies. We schedule back-to-back rehearsals, agree to gigs and ensembles we do not have time to play or practice for, and do not always remember to take breaks while we are practicing. When treated promptly, most of these injuries heal, and musicians are able to resume their regular performance schedules. But there are also a number of ways to prevent an injury.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. It will tell you when it is tired. If it hurts, stop. If it is tight, stretch it. Musicians are athletes. We have to warm up, stretch, and condition our bodies for the demands we place on them. Just as a marathon runner does not launch into a race unprepared, we too have to gradually work up our endurance. If you have been practicing thirty minutes or an hour a day, do not suddenly launch into a six hour rehearsal schedule. Gradually work up your playing time. Give your muscles the consistency that will help keep them resilient. Spread out your playing time throughout the day, so your body can have time to rest in between rehearsals. You will be able to work more efficiently when you come back to the practice room. And remember to take breaks from your practicing and get a good night’s sleep. Your mind and body will be more able to deal with all those fast passages when you are fully rested.

The field of musicians’ health and performing arts medicine is growing. A mere generation ago, people did not know very muchabout musician injuries. Some of the general public may still be surprised to hear about musicians getting injured, but it is no longer unfamiliar territory for those in the realms of performance, education, or healthcare. The Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA) publishes a quarterly research journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, filled with current research on musicians, dancers, and other performing artists. Doctors and other healthcare providers are becoming more aware of the challenges performing artists face to keep their bodies healthy during their careers. There are clinics and practitioners who specialize in treating injured performing artists. The field of performing arts medicine is still expanding, and there are lots of resources available, whether you are an educator, an injured musician, or just want to learn more about musicians’ health.

Stay tuned for more information and resources on how to stay healthy as a musician…


[1] Fishbein, Martin and Susan E. Middlestadt, et al. “Medical problems among ICSOM musicians: overview of a national survey.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 3, no. 1 (Mar. 1988): 1-8.

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One Response to Staying Healthy, Staying Musical

  1. black demon April 4, 2024 at 11:03 am #

    good vibe

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