This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
The LIVS will be closed for vacation July 7 - July 22. Click here for details
Musician Injury: What is it and How to Prevent it

Musician Injury: What is it and How to Prevent it

by Erica Garcia

When thinking of debilitating injuries caused by physical activity, nearly all peoples' minds go to sports. Sports can be fast paced, intense, and often filled with passion, not unlike a musical performance. Most people, including musicians, do not know of the prevalence of injury among instrumentalists. These injuries can be painful, and can even prevent you from playing. The good thing is, there are steps you can take to prevent these injuries from occurring! Through stretches, taking breaks, and taking care of your body, you can greatly prevent yourself from getting injured.

What Causes Musician Injury?

Musician injuries typically fall under the category of overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are caused when a motion occurs repetitively, with little variation. When you practice violin, you are constantly opening and closing your elbow. If you do this for hours, every single day, you would be susceptible to an overuse injury. The most common injuries for musicians are tendinitis, bursitis, and nerve entrapments. All of these are caused by repetitive, small motions.

How to Prevent Musician Injury

There are several measures you can take in order to protect yourself from injury. By stretching, taking breaks, and using proper technique, you can greatly minimize your likelihood of injury.


Just like before you exercise, you should stretch before you play your instrument. Although you may not realize it, practicing is a workout! Playing musical instruments makes you use most muscle groups in your upper body. As you practice, you are placing strain on your muscles. When you stretch, you increase your muscle flexibility. Practicing stretches like these will aid in comfort when you play and aid in protection from injury.

Taking Breaks

It is easy to underestimate just how physical playing an instrument is. However, it is an incredibly physical act. Just as athletes take breaks when training, you should take breaks when practicing. By taking a few minutes break every 20-30 minutes, you will dramatically reduce your risk of injury. Additionally, staying hydrated will allow more water to be available for your muscles. When your body lacks water, your muscles are tense. Tense muscles are prone to strain, which leads to injury. Use your break to have some water!

Proper technique

Proper technique is vital to maximize your productivity on your instrument. Most injuries are a result of improper technique. When you play, make sure you are minimizing tension, utilizing proper posture, and stop if anything hurts or feels uncomfortable. Many injuries start minor, but grow when people try to ‘toughen up and power through’. Be mindful of your body, and make sure you take a break when you need to. Taking a small break from playing may be frustrating, but it will protect you from having to take a much bigger break later. Over 70 percent of professional orchestral musicians have suffered an injury at some point in their career. Taking a few, simple, steps will greatly minimize your risks, keep you healthy and keep your life full of wonderful music.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published