Health & Wellness
In the College of Music, we value the health and wellness of our students and strive to educate in a way that prepares our students for successful careers. Because of the physical and mental demands, it is common for musicians to encounter health and wellness challenges during their study of music. It is our goal to provide resources and support so that students are aware of the common issues and able to seek the help of experts when needed.
Resources at the College of Music
The College of Music has partnered with the UT Psychological Clinic to offer free behavioral health consultations to COM students, faculty, and staff. Up to three 30-minute consultations are available to address a range of concerns related to your overall well being. The behavioral health consultants, Tracy Viator and Kody Sexton, are doctoral therapists supervised by Dr. Flores, licensed psychologist and Director of the UT Psychological Clinic.
Sessions are held in room 108 in the Haslam Music Center:
To get started, please complete the following form: tiny.utk.edu/COMbhc.
Resources at UT
The following links will guide you to centers where you can improve your health and wellness here on UT campus.
The books listed here are all available in the Music Library! Click the links provided to go directly to the library page for each.
- Conable, B. What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body (GIA Publications, 2000) – LINK COMING SOON
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (HarperCollins Publishers, 1990)
- Csikszentmihalyi, M. Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Springer Netherlands, 2014)
- Dawson, W. J. Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Playing Healthy (Rowman and Littlefield/MENC, 2008) – LINK COMING SOON
- Green, B. and Gallwey, W. T. The Inner Game of Music (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1986)
- Horvath, J. Playing (Less) Hurt (Hal Leonard Books, 2010)
- Klickstein, G. The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness (Oxford, 2009)
- Ristad, E. A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances
- Vining, David. Notes of Hope: Stories by Musicians Coping with Injuries (Mountain Peak Music)
- Watson, A. The Biology of Musical Performance and Performance Related Injury, Scarecrow Press, 2009
These online resources include services for mental and physical health and wellness alike.
- Musician’s Way.com – This website provides an extensive list of resources, including those on performance anxiety, injury prevention, voice care & vocal health, mental health, hearing conservation, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, creativity, and more!
- The Musician’s Survival Manual: A Guide to Preventing and Treating Injuries in Instrumentalists by Richard Norris, M.D. (International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, 1993) – This free book PDF consists of chapters that explore some of the medical problems that musicians may face, along with principles of prevention and suggestions for further reading.
- Cross Training for Musicians: An Interdisciplinary Guide Promoting Healthy Music Making – Cross Training for Musicians is an innovative interdisciplinary practice guide incorporating the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Body Mapping, yoga, and stretching. Cross Training is a web-based resource, not a printed book; it is a collection of videos and sound files that guide you through a series of movements designed to promote healthy practicing and facilitate recovery from injury. By breaking up practice sessions with short movement breaks, Cross Training for Musicians serves as the equivalent to the runner who cross trains by swimming. Cross Training offers movement breaks catalogued for use by day of the week, by modality (Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, etc.), and by body region. Available for $19.95.
- Music Minds Matter – This website has links to Zoom-based Mental Wellness Meetups directly geared toward musicians.
- The Compete Guide to the Alexander Technique – this website is a comprehensive source for information about the Alexander Technique on the web. The Alexander Technique can help if you suffer from repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome, you have a backache or stiff neck and shoulders, or you want to explore using your body to its full potential while making music.
- The Feldenkrais Method uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. Since how you move is how you move through life, these improvements will often enhance your thinking, emotional regulation, and problem-solving capabilities.
- Music Health Alliance – This Nashville-based organization provides mental and physical healthcare advocacy and support for musicians.
- Mental Health in College – National Alliance on Mental Illness – This page, housed on the NAMI site, provides advice and resources for mental health that is specifically for college students.
Professional Wellness Organizations
These professional organizations provide opportunities for you to explore and expand your knowledge of mental and physical health and wellness for musicians.
Acoustic Conditions in Practice, Rehearsal, and Performance Facilities
Although UT’s practice, rehearsal, and performance facilities meet OSHA Noise Standards (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), 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. It is recommended that students purchase earplugs that are specially designed for musicians and wear them when exposed to high levels of sound. For more information on specific brands of earplugs for musicians, click here.
The information on this website is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice or consultation with healthcare professionals. If you are experiencing a medical or healthcare emergency, you should seek immediate assistance, including by dialing 911.