The Rowan University Department 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.

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 Rowan University. The policies and procedures developed by the Department 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.

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 extensive. 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, non-ergonomic 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.

Performance Health Resources

Resources at Rowan University

Performing Arts Medicine clinic was developed to address specific injuries related to practitioners of the performing arts. Each Friday afternoon (1:30-4:00 p.m.) in the Wellness Center during the fall and spring semester, Dr. Jim Bailey from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine is available in the Wellness Center in Wynans Hall to treat student musicians for any performing arts related injuries. Appointments sign-up is available at the Wellness Center during regular operating hours.

Links to Resources at Rowan University

Rowan Student Wellness Center
Counseling Center
Fitness and Active Living
Healthy Eating and Nutrition
Stress Management


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.

Protecting Your Hearing Health

NASM-PAMA Student Information Sheet on Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (pdf)

Music Induced Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection, by John F. King, Au.D.

OSHA: Noise/Hearing Conservation

Hearing Loss Decibel Levels

Noises and Hearing Loss

Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA)

Performing Arts Medicine Association Bibliography (search tool)

American Academy of Audiology

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

General Acoustics Information

Acoustical Society of America

Athletes and the Arts

Dangerous Decibels

Health and Safety Standards Organizations American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

National Hearing Conservation Association

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders - Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Musculoskeletal and Vocal Health and Injury

NASM-PAMA Music Student Guide on Neuromusculoskeletal and Vocal Health (pdf)

NASM-PAMA Student Information Sheet on Neuromusculoskeletal Health (pdf)

NASM-PAMA Student Information Sheet on Vocal Health (pdf)

The Role of Rest, by Ralph A. Manchester (pdf)

A Painful Melody: Repetitive Strain Injury Among Musicians, by Tamara Mitchell (pdf)

Repetitive Stress and Strain Injuries: Preventive Exercises for the Musician, by Gail A. Shafer-Crane (pdf)

Texas Voice Center

The Alexander Technique

Andover Educators (body mapping)

Dalcroze Society of America

The Feldenkrais Method

Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA)

Performing Arts Medicine Association Bibliography (search tool)

Psychological Health

Performance Anxiety (WebMD)

Conquering performance anxiety from inside out, by Helen Spielman (pdf)

Green, B. and Gallwey, W. T. The Inner Game of Music

Ristad, E. A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances

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.

Acoustic Conditions in Practice, Rehearsal, and Performance Facilities

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