The Furman University Department of Music, as required by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), 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.

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 Furman University Department of Music. Many organizations now exist that are dedicated to helping musicians maintain and protect health. NASM has collaborated with the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA) to develop a number of useful documents concerning health for musicians. The information below is based on documents developed together by NASM and PAMA. In addition, you will find links to a number of websites that are devoted to these issues.

Neuromusculoskeletal health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician. The human neuromusculoskeletal system is comprised of the nervous system, the muscular system, and the skeletal system. Together, these systems support the body’s physical structure and enable movement. In these resource documents, the term “neuromusculoskeletal” is used to encompass not only overt physical movements (the pressing of a key, the strumming of a string), but also the small internal movements our bodies make, for example to produce breath and modify vocal sounds. Vocal health is referred to as a component of neuromusculoskeletal health within these documents. When the term “neuromusculoskeletal” is used, vocal health is included. “Neuromusculoskeletal” also includes the body’s position in space and the relationship of the skeletal system to corresponding muscles and tissues. Terms such as “alignment” or “posture,” which often refer to spinal positioning, weight distribution, muscular support, and balance, are important talking points in conversations about musicians’ neuromusculoskeletal health.  Good health and healthy behaviors are important to all musicians, regardless of instrument and area of specialization.

You are responsible for your behavior in and outside of the music department.  Your day-to-day decisions have a great impact on your neuromusculoskeletal and vocal health, both now and years from now. Do yourself a favor. Be smart. Protect your body and your voice. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Take care of yourself. You owe it to yourself.