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Healthy Musician

Keeping our students fit and healthy. 

Here are some useful tips about how to stay healthy and injury free when you’re playing! Hopefully you can apply some of these tips to your practice routine. We want a community of healthy and happy musicians so please come to us with any concerns or further questions.


Sitting at the piano


  • Sitting comfortably at the piano is so important
  • You should be sitting at a distance from the piano where their hands can reach comfortably. 
  • The chair or stool they sit on needs to be at a height where, similarly, the hands don’t stretch to reach the piano 
  • If the stool is too high there will be tension in the arms and if it’s too low the shoulders will start to droop.

How you can help your child:

  • Make sure that you have a stool that is the correct height for your child. If you have multiple children learning piano then adjustable stools are fantastic. Otherwise think about improvising with cushions or books to get the right height. This also applies to drum kit players!
  • Every now and then check how they are sitting. Especially after school, tiredness can mean that shoulders will droop and necks will tense up – we want to avoid this! If you are aware of these things then you can just remind your child to sit up. Tell them they will be more comfortable!
  • Make sure your wrists don’t drop onto the piano, there should always be space for a mouse/tennis ball (delete as appropriate!!) to be underneath the hand.
  • Make sure there is a straight line from wrist to elbow and at a 90 degree angle. The elbow should never be higher or lower than the wrist and there should not be any “chicken wings” – elbows moving up and down like doing a chicken impression!

Holding instruments


  • With instruments that we hold up, such as violins, woodwind and brass instruments, the main rule is BRING THE INSTRUMENT TO YOU. 
  • We don’t want to make our body fit the instrument and be uncomfy and painful 
  • We want to stand in a comfortable position and the instrument fits into this posture – stand with both feet flat on the floor about a shoulder width apart
  • Make sure your shoulders aren’t hunched or tense.
  • Keep your hands and fingers nice and relaxed – wriggle them every now and again!

How you can help your child:

  • If your child looks uncomfortable during practice, tell them to put the instrument down and “shake away” all the tension (a bit of silliness helps break up practice time too!).
  • Then get them to stand in a comfortable posture and hand them back the instrument, making sure they don’t droop their shoulders or tilt their neck during this process.
  • Check that your child is standing or sitting with both feet flat on the floor about a shoulder width apart (it’s impressive some of the one legged gymnastics we’ve seen!).
  • This applies for singers as well; a good posture makes breathing a lot easier too.

Instrument sizes


We forget that some of the instruments played by children are also played by fully grown adults, and they often find them heavy! 

  • Some instruments have variable sizes which will help make playing easier
  • Instruments that have one standard size often have straps that help smaller people to play them.
  • Make sure the supporting device (neck strap, harness, thumb rest) fits and is in the correct place on the instrument 

How you can help your child:

  • If your child plays a string instrument (violin, cello, guitar etc.) then you are lucky that the instruments come in smaller sizes. It is so important to ask the tutor for advice on what size your child should be playing on. Too big and fingers and arms will stretch unnaturally and too small we will start to get hunched shoulders. 
  • Woodwind instruments are normally all standard sizes, so we have to find other alternatives. For flute players, there are flutes that have a bent round head joint to make the flute short and easier to reach the notes. For clarinets, saxes, oboes and bassoons it is important to get a really supportive neck strap. The most supportive often go round the waist and shoulders so the weight of the instrument gets distributed evenly.
  • For brass players, there is a series of trombones called P-Bones that are made of plastic (and are brightly coloured!) meaning they are lighter for children to hold. These are also available in trumpets and horns. These are only suitable for young beginners, but they are a good starting point for slighter players, where weight of instrument is a problem.

Heavy cases


  • Lugging around heavy instrument cases is sometimes more detrimental to a working musician than a playing related injury. 
  • Don’t carry around all the music you’ve ever played in one case!
  • Carry your case using both back straps if possible

How you can help your child:

  • Make sure the case only contains the music needed for that lesson, don’t keep every piece they’ve ever played buried in the case. The grams gradually add up! So try to keep tabs on what books they are working on, check the notebook the tutor keeps for this information.
  • Try to buy a case with two straps if it needs to be carried on their back and that the straps aren’t too low on the child’s back. Low straps might look cool but they put so much unnecessary strain on the back!
  • If they take instruments to school, see if there is a storeroom they can keep their instruments in during the day. Especially for secondary school pupils, there is rarely much space to store things, so if the music teacher is aware they have an instrument to bring in, normally they will find a space to store it.

COVID 19: We are pleased to say we have now switched to 100% virtual lessons, with great success! Find out more
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