Neuromusculoskeletal Health

The neuromusculoskeletal system refers to the complete system of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and associated nerves and tissues that allow us to move and to speak and to sing. This system also supports our body’s structure. The “neuro” part of the term “neuromusculoskeletal” refers to our nervous system that coordinates the ways in which our bodies move and operate.

The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the hundreds of billions of nerves responsible for transmitting information from the brain to the rest of the body and back again in an endless cycle. Our nervous systems allow us to move, to sense, and to act in both conscious and unconscious ways. We could not listen to, enjoy, sing, or play music without these structures. In fact, making any change in our approach to movement, particularly to the array of complex movements needed for the performance of music, means working closely with our nervous system so that any automatic, unconscious or poor habits may be replaced with healthy, constructive, and coordinate movement choices.

Protecting Your Neuromusculoskeletal Health

The following information was provided by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA):

  • Neuromusculoskeletal health is essential to your lifelong success as a musician.
  • Practicing and performing music is physically demanding.
  • Musicians are susceptible to numerous neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
  • Some musculoskeletal disorders are related to behavior; others are genetic; still others are the result of trauma or injury. Some genetic conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing certain behavior-related neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
  • Many neuromusculoskeletal disorders and conditions are preventable and/or treatable
  • Sufficient physical and musical warm-up time is important.
  • Good posture and correct physical technique are essential.
  • Regular breaks during practice and rehearsal are vital in order to prevent undue physical stress and strain.
  • It is important to set a reasonable limit on the amount of time that you will practice in a day
  • Avoid sudden increases in practice times.
  • Know your body, its limits and avoid “overdoing it.”
  • Maintain healthy habits. Safeguard your physical and mental health.
  • Day-to-day decisions can impact your neuromusculoskeletal health, both now and in the future. Since muscle and joint strains and a myriad of other injuries can occur in and out of school, you also need to learn more and take care of your own neuromusculoskeletal health on a daily basis, particularly with regard to your performing medium and area of specialization.
  • If you are concerned about your personal neuromusculoskeletal health, talk with a medical professional.
  • If you are concerned about your neuromusculoskeletal health in relationship to your program of study, consult the Department of Music.

Additional Information

Back to table of contentsBack to top

Upcoming Events

More events & ticketing

Student Spotlight

Would you like to know more?

All prospective and current Cal Poly students interested in joining the Wind Ensemble or Wind Orchestra should fill out our Online Interest Form.

We enjoy meeting new students and encourage you to send an email if you have any questions or plan to visit campus. Contact information for directors and all band faculty and staff can be found on our contacts page.