It goes without saying that instruments are an important part of making music, and that musicians are important in this process. Physical fitness is known to be necessary for singers and dancers, but it is also valuable for musicians as well. Musicians spend a lot of time practicing, recording and performing, but they also need to allocate some of their time to getting fit through physical exercise. If musicians are physically fit, it can lead to enhanced performances, less injuries and a long musical career.
Musicians have not really taken onboard the need to be physically fit and the impact it can have on their performances and careers as a whole. The physical aspects of playing an instrument usually only comes to the fore when some pain or injury is experienced. Around three quarters of orchestral musicians will suffer some sort of injury and may even need to stop playing, ending their careers. Unlike dancers who suffer high impact injuries, musicians suffer from repetitive injuries and injuries related to posture. These injuries can be prevented to a large degree by the musician becoming fitter and stronger.
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The key to any fitness training is to begin small and then increase the intensity as your body becomes accustomed to it. Activities to increase cardiovascular health can begin with low impact ones such as walking, swimming or bicycling and build up to high impact sports that involve running etc. Body strength can be increased by starting with easy calf rises, squats and pushups (off a wall or bench), and progressing to more strenuous exercises involving resistance bands and weights.
Balance exercises such as single leg standing, side stepping and heel raises are especially useful for older musicians. If a musician is able to transfer their body weight, whether they are standing or sitting, it will go a long way to reducing injury. Physical warm up exercises before a performance are just as important as warming up playing the instrument. Simple measures including arm circles, leg swings and body twisting can help to warm up the muscles prior to playing. Recovery stretches after the performance will also help to reduce injury.
Exercise and keeping fit are important for all people and musicians are no exception. A musician’s level of fitness and strength can determine; their number of injuries, quality of performance and the length of their musical careers. Musicians need to get fit, so they can continue what they love to do.