skip navigation

Resources in the Vassar Libraries for Musicians With Injuries

Over the past few years, several Vassar students seem to have developed arm or hand injuries caused or exacerbated by playing their instruments. The following list may serve as a source of information, both for people suffering from these kinds of "repetitive strain" or "overuse" injuries, and for people seeking to prevent them. The World Wide Web sources included here are just a few of many sites. Those people already suffering from injury might want to ask for assistance looking at the Web, since extended computer use can seriously aggravate their problems.

BOOKS

Norris, Richard. The Musician's Survival Manual: a guide to preventing and treating injuries in instrumentalists. [S.l.]: International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians, c1993.
Mus Lib RC 965 .P46 N67 1993
Gives an overview of injuries common to instrumentalists, with clear descriptions and illustrations. Also discusses exercise, returning to play after injury, and stage fright. Includes suggestions for further reading.

Pascarelli, Emil, and Deborah Quilter. Repetitive Strain Injury: a computer user's guide. New York: J. Wiley, c1994.
Mus Lib RD 97.6 .P37 1994 (Also in Main Library)
One of the most comprehensive books available on repetitive strain injuries and their treatment and prevention. Geared toward computer users, but much of the information here will apply to instrumentalists, as well.

Samama, Ans. Muscle Control for Musicians: a series of exercises for daily practice. Houten/Zaventem : Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum, 1994.
Mus Lib ML 3820 .S25x 1994
Doesn't address injury directly, but gives detailed instructions for exercises to improve muscle control and posture for musicians, which can be helpful in preventing further problems. Includes chapters on sitting, standing, breathing, and relaxation, as well as specialized exercises for various instrumentalists and vocalists.

Grindea, Carola, ed. Tensions in the performance of music. New York: Alexander Broude, c1978.
Mus Lib ML 3820 .T46 1982

Again, not directly related to injury. From the preface: "In these short articles, Carola Grindea has collected a fascinating variety of views on what should, can and may be done to avoid the evil effects of conflicting tensions." Addresses both physical and mental tension, including performance anxiety.

WEB SITES

"Musicians and Injuries"
Lists books, videos, and other online resources about musicians' injuries. Has both general information and articles specific to particular instruments, especially piano, violin, and guitar. Also links to pages that cover repetitive strain injuries from a broader perspective.

"The Harvard RSI Action Home Page"
About typing problems specifically. Geared toward Harvard students, but also has some good basic information about typing and ergonomics, as well as how to adapt everyday tasks to compensate for an injury (much of this is also covered in the book by Pascarelli and Quilter). Also has some links to other resources.

Back to top