Yoga, Pilates, and more for Australian orchestra musicians

Posted on: August 7, 2014

“Every week, on the bright purple carpet of the Opera House’s northern foyer, a group of elite orchestral musicians practise the downward dog,” reports Lenny Ann Low in Monday’s (8/4) Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). “Like sportspeople, these Sydney Symphony Orchestra members are training their bodies to resist and recover from injury. Unlike sportspeople, the occupational hazards of their craft have not always been recognised. SSO managing director Rory Jeffes says professional musicians can face career-ending health challenges while working. Injuries range from musculoskeletal disorders to hearing loss and anxiety issues. A particular fear is the neurological condition focal dystonia, which results in hands and fingers failing to respond to commands. ‘Orchestral musicians really are elite athletes,’ Jeffes says. ‘They may not be using major muscle groups, like legs for jumping, but the use of so many muscles, such as the micro movements of fingers, is absolutely critical to being able to perform at the top level.’ … SSO has recently expanded its health and wellbeing program, adding Pilates classes to a long existing schedule of yoga and Alexander technique. They have also published a handbook detailing the noise monitoring, ergonomic assessment and hearing tests available to musicians.”

Posted August 7, 2014