Health, Safety and Injury Prevention

Information and policies for musicians

The Department of Music, as required by the National Association of Schools of Music, is obligated to inform students and faculty of health and safety issues, hazards, and procedures inherent in practice, performance, teaching, and listening both in general and as applicable to their specific specializations. This includes but is not limited to information regarding:

  • Basic Information on Hearing Health
  • Vocal and musculoskeletal health
  • Injury prevention
  • The use, proper handling, and operation of potentially dangerous materials, equipment, and technology

It is important to note that health and safety depends largely on personal decisions made by informed individuals. Sonoma State University has health and safety responsibilities, but fulfillment of these responsibilities cannot and will not ensure any individual's health and safety. Too many factors beyond the university's control are involved.
 

Each individual is personally responsible for avoiding risk and preventing injuries to themselves before, during, and after study or employment in the Sonoma State Univeristy Music Department. The policies, protocols, and operational procedures developed by the Music Department do not alter or cancel any individual's personal responsibility, or in any way shift personal responsibility for the results of any individual's personal decisions or actions in any instance or over time to the University.

Anyone who practices, rehearses or performs instrumental or vocal music has the potential to suffer injury related to that activity. Instrumental musicians are at risk for repetitive motion injuries. Sizable percentages of them develop physical problems related to playing their instruments; and if they are also computer users, their risks are compounded. Instrumental injuries often include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, and bursitis. Incorrect posture, non-ergonomic technique, excessive force, overuse, stress, and insufficient rest contribute to chronic injuries that can cause great pain, disability, and the end of careers.