Excerpts from "Save The Performer" by Anne Chicheportiche

The Wellness of a Musician, and the Importance of an Occupational Health Program in Music Schools.

“Pain and disability are commonplace aspects of a life in sports.  But for musicians, who are, in the words of Leon Fleisher, “athletes of the small muscles,” any pain or injuries to the body are often considered a personal failing, as well as, a threat to status and career.”

Most musicians have, at some point in their careers, suffered some sort of discomfort, pain, or actual injury, as a result of playing their instrument.  While some forms of discomfort may not be serious, and may demand nothing more than a little rest, other discomfort could be the first signs of a serious problem.  The issue is that most musicians do not know when they are suffering from a serious problem, and even if they do, they do not know what to do about it.  The result can often be career impeding or ending injuries.

To better understand these injuries we must first delve into their causes.  Among the various causes are poor technical training, performance anxiety, over-practicing, and environmental concerns such as cold rooms and bad chairs.  The most common injuries that musicians suffer are Tendonitis, Over-use Syndrome, and various shoulder and neck pains.

If musicians are to protect themselves from such injuries they must be provided ample education, early in their careers, about these various risks.  They must learn how to communicate their concerns to a doctor, and how to implement the necessary life-style changes that will promote better musical health.

Unfortunately, musicians, even at the collegiate level, are rarely provided the kind of medical attention on which athletes have come to rely. A student athlete can have access to chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition counselling, sports psychology, and other medical consultants. It is time for musicians to pursue a similar quality of medical care for themselves. In doing so schools of music will come one step closer to achieving parity between the athletic and music departments. Ideally, all schools of music should teach elements of occupational health such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method, as well as methods for coping with performance anxiety and general stress.

In the full article “Save The Performer” you will find:


  • Lack of Body Awarness
  • Poor Practice Habits
  • Stress and Lack of Rest


  • Making Wise Choices for Your Education
  • Pedagogical Methods on Relaxation and Motion for the Violin


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