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Musicians: The Unsung Athlete

Musicians: The Unsung Athlete

In the realm of athleticism, the image that typically comes to mind involves sweat-drenched uniforms, the pounding of feet on tracks, or the adrenaline-fueled clash of competitors on a field. Yet, there exists another breed of athlete, one whose arena is a concert hall, their equipment a musical instrument, and whose performance requires an intricate harmony of physical and mental prowess. Yes, musicians are athletes in their own right, finely tuned and rigorously trained for their craft.

Consider for a moment the preparation that goes into a musician’s performance. Much like an athlete meticulously trains for a competition, a musician spends countless hours honing their skills, perfecting their technique, and mastering their repertoire. Take, for example, Terence Tam, the concertmaster of the Victoria Symphony, who graciously shared insights into his rigorous practice routine at a recent event called Connecting Performance, hosted by 94Forward. Tam, who also juggles a demanding career as an emergency room doctor, dedicates up to six hours a day to practicing his instrument. His schedule, akin to that of a professional athlete, is meticulously organized, with folders of music for upcoming performances and strategic planning to ensure peak performance when it matters most.

This concept of periodization, commonly employed in athletic training, is essential for musicians as well. By strategically planning their practice sessions and performances, musicians can optimize their training, prevent burnout, and ensure they are at their best when it counts. Much like an athlete preparing for a championship game, musicians must pace themselves, balancing intense practice sessions with adequate rest and recovery.

However, the parallels between musicians and athletes extend beyond just preparation. Like athletes, musicians are no strangers to the physical demands of their craft. The repetitive motions involved in playing an instrument can lead to a myriad of musculoskeletal issues, from tendonitis to carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet, despite the pain, many musicians are inclined to play through injuries, risking long-term challenges (not unlike many traditional athletes). 

This is where the principles of athletic therapy come into play. Just as athletes rely on athletic therapists to prevent and treat injuries, musicians can benefit from the expertise of athletic therapists who understand the unique demands of their profession. Early intervention and proper maintenance can mean the difference between a brief setback and a career-ending injury.

In essence, being a musician is not merely about creating beautiful music but also about maintaining a finely tuned instrument—the body. By embracing an athletic therapy approach, musicians can optimize their performance, mitigate the risk of injury, and ensure a long and fruitful career in music. So, the next time you witness a musician take the stage, remember that behind every exquisite performance lies the heart of an athlete: dedicated, disciplined, and ready to give it their all.

At The Athlete Centre, we believe there’s an athlete in Every Body and provide the same level of care and attention that professional athletes receive to everyone who loves to move. Learn more here.

About the Author:

Stephen Woollard is an Athletic Therapist and understands the profound effect injuries can have on a person’s physical and mental well-being. He uses a combination of hands-on treatment, movement, and exercise to get you back to doing what you love and performing at your best, whatever that may be. Stephen holds a bachelor degree in music, plays trombone, and a has special interest in working with musicians

To book a free discovery session to see how athletic therapy can benefit you, click here