Being a performing musician is a lot like being an athlete in terms of the intensity of stresses on the body. Unfortunately, many musicians will experience an occupation-related health issue or injury at some point in their careers. These types of occurrences can be devastating to a musician, with steep financial, physical and emotional costs associated with such events. Education and awareness, especially self-awareness, are key in avoiding such problems and dealing with them when/if they arise. Occupational injuries for musicians can take many forms, including musculoskeletal, vocal, hearing-related, or psychological.
It is important for musicians to be mindful and take steps to minimize behaviors that could lead to chronic, recurring injuries that could jeopardize your professional abilities. Some tips to help with this are:
It is important to be highly vigilant regarding activities that could increase your risk of injury. Activities might include:
Music-Related Risk Factors
Non Music-Related Risk Factors
If you start to experience pain, or a sense that something is wrong, while practicing your instrument, don’t “push through it.” You should:
A recovery program should be designed in close collaboration with a medical professional.
Protection of hearing should be paramount for any musician. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that over 360 million people globally are suffering from debilitating hearing loss. Hearing loss is generally permanent; therefore, prevention is essential.
There are three general ways to protect against hearing loss. You can:
It is important for musicians to stay mentally healthy as well as physically. Many of the psychological issues experienced by musicians—uncertainty about the future, depression, performance anxiety, general anxiety, etc.—are highly treatable. Students should not hesitate to seek out the services of the various resources available to them.