Staying Healthy for Musicians: How to Ensure Your Body Stays Healthy While Making Music
As a musician, there are a few things that are as important as perfecting your craft. Hours upon hours are spent practising, playing, and perfecting your music. However, what can be easy to forget is that neglecting your physical and mental health can have serious consequences on your ability to make music. That is why it is essential for musicians to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
To stay healthy as a musician, there are several aspects of your health and self-care that you need to pay attention to.
Look after your Physical Body
This is the primary vehicle through which your music comes to life. A repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel, can derail a musician for months, or even years. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your body is getting what it needs.
Ensure that you are well-hydrated, getting enough rest, and eating well. Musicians often forget that what they do is a physically demanding activity, not just a creative one. Therefore, it’s important to incorporate a moderate exercise routine to keep muscles in good condition and enhance muscle memory.
If your body is giving you warning signs, such as pain during playing, listen to what it’s telling you. The longer you neglect an injury or ignore pain, the greater the risk of it becoming more serious. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, see a doctor and adjust your routine according to their advice.
Look After Your Mental Health
Musicians practice for hours, add that to a full academic calendar and there is real potential to get overloaded and burned out.
Your mental health is critical to your well-being, not just as a musician, but as a human being. Overwork and stretching yourself too thin will eventually result in burnout. To avoid losing your passion and interest, take frequent breaks.
It is important for musicians to be realistic about their workload and capabilities. Taking on too much can lead to feelings of overwhelm and depression, and may negatively impact the quality of music produced. Musicians should structure their workload efficiently and prioritize self-care to prevent burnout and maintain a high level of creativity.
Practice self-care, whatever that looks like for you. Make sure that you get frequent mental health breaks and check in on yourself.
Look After Your Ears
As a musician, your ears are crucial. Continual exposure to loud music can lead to hearing loss, which is a potential risk we need to be mindful of. Hours spent in practice sessions and gigs make us vulnerable to damaging our hearing, so what can we do to keep our ears healthy?
Firstly, it is important to reduce the volume of sound exposure while ensuring clarity of tone and notes. Using high-fidelity musicians’ earplugs can filter out harmful frequencies while maintaining the quality of what we hear.
Another thing to watch out for is headphone volume, which can easily exceed safe levels. Use noise-cancelling headphones and keep the volume low, giving your ears frequent breaks. Your ears will thank you.
Putting these tips into practice will definitely help you to ensure that you are playing music for a long time.
If you notice any warning signs in your mental or physical health, seek help from medical professionals and look after yourself. Your music is worth it.
Orzel, Helen. Undergraduate Music Student Stress and Burnout. San Jose State University, 2011.
Sayana. “Self-Care for Musicians: Why It’s Important and How to Practice It” – Blog | Splice. 29 Mar. 2022, https://splice.com/blog/self-care-musicians/.
Wiebe, David Andrew. “Tips For Avoiding Burnout As An Independent Musician, & My Personal Story”. Music Industry How To, 18 Aug. 2019, https://www.musicindustryhowto.com/how-to-avoid-burnout-as-a-musician-and-why-it-even-happens/.