Health and Safety Guidelines

Health and Safety Guidelines for Musicians

If you are concerned about your personal neuro-musculoskeletal, voice or hearing health talk with a medical professional. If you are concerned about your neuro-musculoskeletal, voice or hearing health in relationship to your program of study, consult your applied music instructor and/or your ensemble director.

Information on Protecting Neuro-musculoskeletal Health

Neuro-musculoskeletal health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.  Day-to-day decisions can impact your neuro-musculoskeletal health, both now and in the future. Since muscle and joint strains and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own neuro-musculoskeletal health on a daily basis, particularly with regard to your performing medium and area of specialization.

Some musculoskeletal disorders are related to behavior; others are genetic; still others are the result of trauma or injury. Some genetic conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing certain behavior-related neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Musicians are susceptible to numerous neuro-musculoskeletal disorders but many conditions are preventable and/or treatable.

Practicing, rehearsing and performing music is physically demanding.  Sufficient physical and musical warm-up time is important. Proper body alignment and correct physical technique are essential. The following habits can aid in protecting your neuro-musculoskeletal health:

  • Take regular breaks during practice and rehearsal to prevent undue physical stress and strain.
  • Set a reasonable time limit that you will practice in a day
  • Avoid sudden increases in practice times
  • Know your body and its limits, and avoid “overdoing it”
  • Maintain healthy habits to safeguard your physical and mental health

This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). For more information, check out the other NASM-PAMA neuro-musculoskeletal health documents, located on the NASM Web site at the URL linked below. https://nasm.arts-accredit.org/publications/brochures-advisories/nasm-pama-nms-vocal-health/

 

Information on Vocal Health

Vocal health is essential to your lifelong success as a singer. Understanding basic care of the voice is essential for musicians who speak, sing, and rehearse or teach others. Day-to-day decisions can impact your vocal health, both now and in the future. Since vocal strain and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own vocal health on a daily basis.

Musicians are susceptible to numerous vocal disorders but many conditions are preventable and/or treatable.  

Practicing, rehearsing, and performing music is physically demanding. Sufficient warm-up time is important.  Proper alignment, adequate breath support, and correct physical technique are essential. The following habits can aid in protecting your vocal health:

  • Begin warming up mid-range, and then slowly work outward to vocal pitch extremes
  • Take regular breaks during practice and rehearsal to prevent undue physical or vocal stress and strain
  • Set reasonable time limits on practice in a day
  • Avoid sudden increases in practice times
  • Know your voice and its limits, and avoid overdoing it or misusing it
  • Maintain healthy habits. Safeguard your physical and mental health
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your vocal folds adequately lubricated
  • Limit your use of alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid shouting, screaming, or other strenuous vocal use

This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). For more information, check out the other NASM-PAMA neuromusculoskeletal health documents, located on the NASM Web site at the URL linked below. https://nasm.arts-accredit.org/publications/brochures-advisories/nasm-pama-nms-vocal-health/

 

Information on the Prevention of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Hearing health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. Noise-induced hearing loss is largely preventable. It is important to follow basic hearing health guidelines established by the Luther College music department. Day-to-day decisions can impact your hearing health, both now and in the future and since sound exposure occurs in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own hearing health on a daily basis. Certain behaviors like controlling volume levels in practice and rehearsal, avoiding noisy environments and turning down the volume reduce your risk of hearing loss.

Risk of hearing loss is based on a combination of sound or loudness intensity and duration. You must avoid overexposure to loud sounds, especially for long periods of time. The closer you are to the source of a loud sound, the greater the risk of damage to your hearing mechanisms.

Sounds over 85 dB (your typical vacuum cleaner) in intensity pose the greatest risk to your hearing. Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:

  • 85 dB (vacuum cleaner, MP3 player at 1/3 volume) – 8 hours
  • 90 dB (blender, hair dryer) – 2 hours
  • 94 dB (MP3 player at 1/2 volume) – 1 hour
  • 100 dB (MP3 player at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 minutes
  • 110 dB (rock concert, power tools) – 2 minutes
  • 120 dB (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate

Be mindful of those MP3 earbuds. The use of earplugs and earmuffs helps to protect your hearing health.

This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). For more information, check out the other NASM-PAMA advisories on hearing health documents, located on the NASM Web site at the URL linked below.  https://nasm.arts-accredit.org/publications/brochures-advisories/nasm-pama-hearing-health/