Dedicated classical musicians must maintain their physical health much like athletes in order to maintain their rigorous practice and performance routines. CIM is committed to supporting its students’ hearing, vocal and musculoskeletal health through a variety of support structures and resources. Find an overview of tools you can use to support your own physical health as a musician.
Vocal health is important for all musicians and essential to lifelong success for singers. Understanding basic care of the voice and best practices for safety is important for all musicians.
- Musicians are susceptible to numerous vocal disorders. Many vocal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable.
- Sufficient warm-up time is important. Begin warming up mid-range, and then slowly work outward to vocal pitch extremes.
- Good posture, adequate breath support and correct physical technique are essential.
- Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical or vocal stress and strain.
- It is important to set a reasonable limit on the amount of time that you will practice in a day. Avoid sudden increases in practice times.
- Know your voice and its limits and avoid overdoing it or misusing it.
- Maintain healthy habits. Safeguard your physical and mental health.
- Drink plenty of water in order to keep your vocal folds adequately lubricated.
- Day-to-day decisions can impact your vocal health, both now and in the future. Since vocal strain and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own vocal health on a daily basis. Avoid shouting, screaming, or other strenuous vocal use.
- If you are concerned about your personal vocal health, speak with a medical professional.
This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA). Find other NASM-PAMA vocal health documents by visiting the NASM website.
If you are concerned about your vocal health in relationship to your program of study, please consult with your principal teacher or the Associate Dean of Students.
Although musicians are susceptible to neuromusculoskeletal disorders, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid undue physical stress and strain. Find important information about neuromusculoskeletal health.
- Neuromusculoskeletal health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.
- Some neuromusculoskeletal disorders are related to behavior, others are genetic, and others are the result of trauma or injury. Some genetic conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing certain behavior-related neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
- Many neuromusculoskeletal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable.
- Sufficient physical and musical warm-up time is important.
- Good posture and correct physical technique are essential.
- Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical stress and strain.
- It is important to set a reasonable time limit on the amount of time that you will practice a day. Avoid sudden increases in practice times.
- Know your body and its limits, and avoid overdoing it.
- Maintain healthy habits. Safeguard your physical and mental health.
- Day-to-day decisions can impact your neuromusculoskeletal health, both now and in the future. Since muscle and joint strains and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own neuromusculoskeletal health on a daily basis, particularly with regard to your performing medium and area of specialization.
- If you are concerned about your personal neuromusculoskeletal health, talk with a medical professional.
This information is provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA). Find other NASM-PAMA neuromusculoskeletal health documents by visiting the NASM website.
If you are concerned about your neuromusculoskeletal health in relationship to your program of study, please consult with your principal teacher or the Associate Dean of Students.
Acquiring permanent hearing loss is an occupational risk for musicians. As part of CIM’s health initiative, we have partnered with the Cleveland Clinic Section of Audiology to promote healthy hearing. Protecting your hearing is critical as your ears will be your livelihood.
CIM provides NRR33 (soft foam) earplugs for use by our musicians. Earplugs are available prior to any rehearsal or concert and may be picked up by the ensemble manager or the student manager on duty.
The Cleveland Clinic recommends obtaining either ETY earplugs or custom musician plugs. The Cleveland Clinic will provide and fit custom musician earplugs for $125 per set for students. Faculty and staff can purchase them for $175.00. Use of high-fidelity earplugs when playing your instrument will protect you against the cumulative effects of overexposure to music or sounds. Contact Audiology at 216.444.5370 to arrange for impressions to be taken for your custom plugs.
Quick Tip: Practicing with your new earplugs will be necessary in order for your ears to adjust. Obtaining earplugs earlier in your career is recommended to allow adequate adjustment time.
Always be aware of your instrument’s output. Follow these key steps to determine if high-fidelity earplugs are for you:
Musical Noise Decibel Ranges
To see the estimated output of your instrument
- Normal piano practice: 60-70 dB
- Fortissimo singer three feet away: 70 dB
- Chamber music in small auditorium: 75-85 dB
- Regular sustained exposure may cause permanent damage: 90-95 dB
- Piano fortissimo: 92-95 dB
- Violin: 84-103 dB
- Cello: 82-92 dB
- Oboe: 90-94 dB
- Flute: 85-111 dB
- Piccolo: 95-112 dB
- Clarinet: 92-103 dB
- French horn: 90-106 dB
- Trombone: 85-114 dB
- Timpani & bass drum rolls: 106 dB
- Average personal listening device on 5/10 setting: 94 dB
- Symphonic music peak: 120-137 dB
- Amplified rock music at 4-6 feet: 120 dB
- Rock music peak: 150 dB
Safe Levels of Maximum Time Exposure
To determine the maximum time you should play and remain safe from hearing loss
- 85 dBA: 8 hours in a day
- 88 dBA: 4 hours in a day
- 91 dBA: 2 hours in a day
- 94 dBA: 1 hour in a day
- 97 dBA: 30 minutes in a day
- 100 dBA: 15 minutes in a day
- 103 dBA: 7.5 minutes in a day
- 106 dBA: 3.75 minutes in a day
A more accurate method is to use a dosimeter, a small instrument you wear on your collar that measures the dose of sound exposure. Dosimeters are available from the Cleveland Clinic. Wearing it for a day or several weeks will determine if you are at risk for hearing loss. This is based on your playing output, time and environment. Get in touch with the Audiology Department at 216.444.5370 to inquire about using a dosimeter.
Audiologists at the Cleveland Clinic offer hearing tests in August to all CIM students. For new students, a baseline hearing test is recommended. For continuing students, follow-up hearing tests are recommended to monitor for any changes that may occur over the course of the year.