A friend calls. There’s a concert / wedding / gig / rehearsal later and they’re short of a player / singer / conductor. It’ll pay expenses / beer / nothing, but it’s a good group and what else would you be doing with your time? Before you know it, you’ve signed up to another late evening of sitting / standing still, eating on the go at unsociable hours, and cutting in to your beauty sleep.
You’re not alone. The passion that musicians have for their craft is huge and often overrides other priorities, including self-care. Whilst there are positives, our survey of 122 musicians found the top 5 downsides were:
On the flip side, the benefits of being a musician are massive. Not only do we get to play in magnificent venues and entertain countless people, our own health and fitness improves due to fewer symptoms of depression, an increased ability to manage stress and anxiety, improvements in breathing and lung function and greater stamina and endurance.
But the number one health and fitness benefit was in mental alertness. Musicians report having better long term memory, reaction times, processing speeds and spatial reasoning.
Designed by a musician for musicians, “How to thrive in music” is a 28 day interactive programme providing you with over 50 nutrition, exercise and lifestyle strategies addressing the health and fitness issues facing musicians today.
Through a series of emails, videos, articles and questionnaires, you will:
I’ve been involved in music since picking up a recorder in the early 1970s. I can still remember my first lesson when at the age of 5 the class learned one note, B, and spent the whole lesson playing (or over-blowing) B to different rhythms. When I was 10, I was let loose on a violin but that was short lived as I broke a string every time I played it – too expensive according to my parents.
They must have been mightily impressed when I came home from senior school a couple of years later with an oboe (and the ease at which reeds can break). In the days of schools having instrument cupboards, I went to the head of music asking to play the clarinet. He said they didn’t have any, but “… I have one of these and it looks the same”.
Almost 40 years later and I’m still playing. I’m principal oboist in a symphony orchestra and have played in a wind quintet with friends for 25 years. I still play with people I met in youth bands 35 years ago, such is the power of music to create longstanding friendships.
The orchestra rehearses once a month over a residential weekend so I get to experience first hand the challenges musicians have with eating on the go, exercising and finding time to relax. I also have a 4 hour round trip to play in the quintet, but I’m a musician – that’s just what we do.
As a personal trainer, I know it’s possible to participate in music making and still keep fit and healthy. It just takes a little planning and effort to move from survive to thrive.