Performance Health

Wellness for Flutists: Modifications, Mindfulness and Maintenance by Francesca Leo

Musicians are facing a unique set of challenges during this unprecedented time. Prior to this pandemic, we have collectively fallen accustomed to disregarding injury at the expense of taking professional auditions and advancing our careers. Our pedagogy as musicians has been largely based around the “no pain, no gain” mentality which is no longer a sustainable process. There also remains a stigma surrounding performance-related injuries, and although performing arts health has become a more prominent topic over the past few...

Beneficial Exercises for Flutists by Angela McCuiston

A plethora of exercises can help flutists reduce playing-related pain or numbness. The chair of the Performance Health Care Committee describes a few of them. by Angela McCuiston One of the relatively few studies done on strength training and playing-related musculoskeletal pain, done in 2017, found that up to 93 percent of professional musicians experience playing-related pain. A recent 48-hour poll of flutists showed that out of 30 respondents, 28 reported playing-related pain or injury. Corrective exercises and strength training have been...

An Epidemic of Pain by Dr. Lea Pearson

AN EPIDEMIC OF PAIN There is a terrible epidemic hiding in our profession: more than 75% of musicians are injured or play in pain! In our flute community in particular, neck, back, arm and shoulder pain is rampant. At recent NFA workshops in Orlando, participants created this group picture to show where it hurts when they play. Does this picture resonate with you? Are you frustrated by upper body tension when you play? We can break through these limitations and recover the ability to play with...

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome by Dr. Sandra Cox

  Cubital Tunnel Syndrome    Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (QTS) is a common problem in flutists, yet it is not as well known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This is the second most common nerve entrapment disorder, after Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and is frequently seen in flute players, especially in the left arm and hand. The typical causative factors are repetitive movement, coupled with the posture and positioning of the left arm. This problem arises from the repeated bending and straightening of the elbow or...

A Flutist’s Guide to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

     By Sandra Cox, D.M.A.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most frequently encountered disorders by all instrumentalists, caused by repetitive movements in the wrist and fingers. This is the most common of the nerve entrapment disorders. These conditions are more common in women, and persons with diabetes, thyroid disorders, and arthritis, or are pregnant.  It occurs when the median nerve is caught, or entrapped, between the bones, ligaments, and other tissues found in the wrist. The median nerve...

The Healthy Flute by Sandra Cox, D.M.A.

The Healthy Flute   by Sandra Cox, D.M.A.   Performance-related injuries. These three words can strike terror in any musician. What exactly is a performance-related injury? It is, simply, any injury that prohibits a musician from performing on an instrument. There is no limit on how much it interferes with playing, whether in performance or practice. It does not have to be so severe that it is incapacitating. This means that many times, we can continue to perform. Unfortunately, not having the injury...