Objectives: While instrumentalist musicians may differ in the level of their skills and the instrument(s) they play, they are all susceptible to musical-instrument-associated injuries. The literature is sparse regarding the predictability of injuries in musicians. The purpose of this study was to determine and compare the demographics of musicians who obtained musical-instrument-associated injuries versus musicians who remained injury-free.
Design: The authors created an online survey to collect data about musicians, including the instruments they play, their practice methods, and if they acquired any injuries from playing their musical instruments. The survey was released and available for participation on various social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for a span of 33 days. Over that time, the survey received a total of 115 responses. The authors defined a “musician” as anyone who plays a musical instrument, regardless of their skill level or previous training.
Results: Of the 115 responses, 18 individuals received one or more injuries from playing their musical instrument. When looking at age, 83.3% of the injured musicians were below 40 years old. Injured musicians were more likely to have received a bachelor’s degree or higher in music. Generally, injured musicians played longer before taking a break to rest their bodies. A greater degree of injured musicians were self-classified as “professional” or “expert” in their instrumental skill level. In addition, paid instrumentalists were more likely to get injured than unpaid instrumentalists.
Conclusions: There are many contributing factors that may relate to whether or not a musician obtains an injury while playing their musical instrument. This survey found that a young, professionally-trained, paid musician, who requires a lot of uninterrupted practice time for their career was at a greater risk of obtaining a musical-instrument-associated injury. Further studies would be indicated to see if these findings are reproducible.