Instrumental Health and Wellness

Playing an instrument is a physically and mentally rigorous undertaking. Instrumentalists train hundreds of muscles each day, spend multiple hours in heightened states of activity during practice and rehearsal, and must use considerable amounts of mental energy to concentrate on the music being performed. In many ways, musicians are like athletes and must similarly look after their physical well-being. They should also take to ensure that they are playing in a safe and healthful environment.

While tendinitis and other musculoskeletal problems resulting from overuse or misuse while playing may appear to be the primary problems facing instrumentalists, it is important to keep in mind all the factors that might impact musician wellness, including sleep, exercise, stress management and diet. Because prevention is the best medicine, we encourage students to review the entire content of this site, even if they have yet to experience any playing-related problems. It is our hope that St. Olaf music students become well informed, and manage to avoid injury while optimizing their performance potential.


The St. Olaf College Music Department supports the quality of this resource as a guide for concepts relating to musician health. However, none of the material presented in this resource should be construed as endorsed or recommended by St. Olaf College. If you suspect you have sustained an injury, please seek medical attention with a certified physician.