Musicians Health and Wellness

We are committed to our students, faculty and staff to develop healthy procedures in the study and practice of music.

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Musicians Health and Wellness

The ASU School of Music, as required by the National Association of Schools of Music, is obligated to inform students, faculty and staff of the health and safety issues, hazards, and procedures inherent in music practice, performance, teaching, and listening both in general and as applicable to their specific specializations. This includes but is not limited to basic information regarding the maintenance of hearing, vocal, and musculoskeletal health and injury prevention. This also includes instruction on the use, proper handling, and operation of potentially dangerous materials, equipment, and technology as applicable to specific program offerings or experiences.

The School of Music has developed policies and procedures to guard against injury and illness in the study and practice of music, as well as to raise the awareness among our students, faculty and staff of the connections between musicians' health, the suitability and safety of equipment and technology, and the acoustic and other health-related conditions in the university's practice, rehearsal, and performance facilities.

It is important to note that the primary factor in your health and safety is you and depends largely on your personal decisions. You are personally responsible for avoiding risk and preventing injuries to yourself before, during, and after study at the ASU School of Music. The policies and procedures developed by the School of Music do not alter or cancel any individual's personal responsibility, or in any way shift personal responsibility for the results of any individual's personal decisions or actions in any instance or over time to the university.

Spring 2018 Health and Wellness Seminars

The School of Music is pleased to announce our new Health and Wellness seminars for all ASU Music students, faculty and staff.

Rena Urso Rena Urso - "Body Mapping"
Friday, Feb. 16, 2018
3:15-5:15 p.m.
FAC 122 (Dance Building)

Body Mapping is the conscious correction and refinement of one’s body map to produce efficient, coordinated, effective movement. Join Rena Urso for this Introduction to Body Mapping workshop, where you will discover balance, greater freedom and ease with breathing, and improved technical facility.

Rena Urso enjoys a flourishing career as a freelance orchestral and chamber musician all over California. In addition to being a member of the flute faculty at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University Long Beach, she holds the positions of Second Flute of the Oakland Symphony, Second Flute and Piccolo of the San Francisco Opera Center Orchestra, and Second Flute of the Oregon Coast Music Festival Orchestra. She previously held Piccolo positions and toured extensively with the New York City Opera National Company and San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater.

As a Licensed Andover Educator and Body Mapping Instructor, Ms. Urso presents clinics and masterclasses around the country and abroad. Recent engagements include the Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Rice University, SUNY Stony Brook, the International Piccolo Festival (Grado, Italy), Rutgers University, University of Texas, Austin, Arizona State University, Wayne State University, as well as many of the schools of music within the CSU system. For more information visit:

Additional seminars:

Jennifer Ross - "Yoga for Musicians"
Friday, Mar. 23, 2018
3:15-5:15 p.m.
FAC 122 (Dance Building)

Richard Goldsand - "Feldenkrais"
Friday, Mar. 30, 2018
3:15-5:15 p.m.
FAC 122 (Dance Building)

These events are free and open to all.


Performance Health

Anyone who practices, rehearses or performs instrumental or vocal music has the potential to suffer injury related to the activity. Students are encouraged to supplement information obtained in their lessons, master classes, and guest lectures regarding musicians' health and safety issues by utilizing some of the resources listed on this website.

Instrumental musicians are at risk for repetitive motion injuries or physical problems related to playing their instruments; and if they are also computer users, their risks are compounded. Instrumental injuries may include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and bursitis.

Likewise, the demands placed on singers' voices are vast. Singers can be forced to cancel a recital or tour, take a break, or undergo a medical procedure due to problems with their voice. Vocalists can suffer from vocal fatigue, anxiety, throat tension, and pain. Musicians use their bodies in specific and highly trained ways, and injuries can occur that can have lasting impact on performance ability. Performers need to be aware of vocal and musculoskeletal health issues that can affect them. Musicians at all levels of achievement can suffer from repetitive stress injuries, neuromuscular conditions or dystonias, and psychological issues including severe performance anxiety.

Incorrect posture, nonergonomic technique, excessive force, overuse, stress, and insufficient rest contribute to chronic injuries that can cause pain, disability, and the end of a musician's career. Additional factors such as nutrition, smoking, drug use, noisy environments, and proper training (or the lack of it) all play a role in a musician's ability to perform at her/his best.

Resources at ASU


  • Conable, B. What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body, (GIA Publications, 2000)
  • Dawson, W. J. Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Playing Healthy, Rowman and Littlefield/MENC, 2008.
  • Horvath, J. Playing (Less) Hurt,
  • Klickstein, G. The Musician's Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Oxford, 2009);
  • Norris, R. N. The Musician’s Survival Manual (International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, 1993).
  • Watson, A. The Biology of Musical Performance and Performance Related Injury, Scarecrow Press, 2009.

Acoustic Conditions in Practice, Rehearsal and Performance Facilities

Although Arizona State University’s practice, rehearsal, and performance facilities meet OSHA Noise Standards, students must be mindful of exposure to excessive noise levels for extended periods of time. OSHA guidelines define excessive noise levels as 90 decibels or higher for more than 8 hours. For more information, please click here for a decibel comparison chart. Please see below for decibel levels specific to musical performance and listening: Chart: Musical Decibel Levels

Equipment and Technology Safety

Students working as stage managers in our concert halls complete a training session on how to safely move the grand pianos on stage.
Students working as audio/recording technicians complete a training session on how to safely use the sound system and recording equipment, and how to safely lift and carry stage monitors.