There’s no question as to whether or not musicians lead a busy lifestyle. With countless rehearsals, concerts, and practice sessions, it can be easy to let your health take a back seat. However, ignoring your health is only going to impact your abilities negatively. Not only will you lose precious practice time during each recovery, but you can develop some pretty harmful long-term issues. We’re going to give you a few tips on how to keep your body fully functioning so that you never have to miss a beat!
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep? Who has time for that?
With all of the randomly timed rehearsals and gigs, getting a proper amount of sleep can be quite tricky for musicians, especially if they’re on the road. However, getting a good night’s sleep allows you to
- Think clearer during the day
- Avoid serious injury
- Feel less stressed and anxious
- Be in a better mood
Let’s face it; musicians need their brainpower! Without proper rest, your mind can’t entirely focus and digest music. Also, you subconsciously quit thinking about things like correct posture or vocal techniques (for singers). The recommended amount of sleep you should get per night differs depending on your age.
- School-aged children: 9 – 11 hours per night
- Teenagers: 8 – 10 hours per night
- Adults: 7 – 9 hours per night
Most importantly, you should listen to your body. If you’re feeling drained, take a nap or go to bed early. Make sleep a priority to reach your full potential as a musician!
Hydration isn’t just crucial for singers, but for all musicians! Though many factors can affect your amount of water intake (exercise, extreme temperatures), a great goal to have is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Staying hydrated
- Improves physical performance and prevents injury. During physical activity, our bodies use up a lot of water. Hydrating before, during, and after exercise helps to protect your body from harm, and to help you to perform better.
- Reduces fatigue
- Improves endurance
- Improves cognitive thinking
- Prevents headaches
- Protects against disease/illness
Try getting in the habit of drinking at least one glass of water every morning and night before bed. Also, pick up a water bottle you can bring along with you to any gig or rehearsal. We recommend a Nalgene or Camelback for a durable water bottle that travels well.
Protect Your Ears
A musician’s ears are invaluable! It’s essential to protect them by maintaining healthy levels of volume day in and day out. The following chart displays how long you can be exposed to different sounds before damage occurs.
We recommend getting some noise-reducing earplugs, which do not eliminate sound but instead bring it down a few decibels to a healthy level. Taking care of your ears will prevent ringing, headaches, and hearing loss over time.
As a musician, you’ll likely end up in many different venues, touching endless music stands, binders, music lights, furniture, and even instruments (if you play an instrument like the piano). To avoid picking up any stray germs, throw a travel-sized hand sanitizer in your bag when you head to a venue or practice room, or some disinfecting wipes if you want to be extra careful. You may become known as the resident “germaphobe,” but at least you’ll be healthy!
Don’t worry; we’re not telling you to sign up for any triathlons any time soon. If you have personal fitness goals, your amount of exercise will differ, but we are recommending a starting point of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Just like sleep and hydration, exercise
- Improves your mood and decreases feelings of anxiety and stress
- Builds and maintains healthy muscles and bones, therefore preventing injury
- Increases energy levels
- Reduces the risk of disease and illness
- Improves brain function and memory
- Enhances relaxation and sleep quality
The type of exercise you take on is up to you! If you’re not an overly active person, don’t feel the pressure to do any strenuous activity. You can simply go on a short walk, or throw a frisbee with a friend. Remember also to stretch and exercise your muscles before you practice and play. Check out our articles 10 Essential Stretching Exercises for Musicians and Enhance Your Voice with These Vocal Warm-Ups and Breathing Exercises for extra help.
Watch What You Eat
Again, we’re not telling you to go on a diet or follow a specific meal plan, but musicians are notorious for skipping meals or grabbing fast food in the late hours of the night. With such busy schedules, it can be hard to get a nutritious meal!
Do your best to develop a regular eating schedule, avoid late night meals, and work in foods that give you energy. These foods will improve your focus and help you get through the day without feeling sluggish or drained. Some foods that have been proven to help promote energy levels are
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potatoes
- Leafy Green Vegetables
Eating this way may require a little bit of meal prep on your end, but we promise that these energy promoting foods are much more likely to get you through a 4-hour rehearsal than a Big Mac. You can also always count on a cup of coffee or tea (for singers, as coffee dries out the voice) to give you a boost!
Simply put, musicians don’t have time to get sick. We want you to be able to enjoy every rehearsal and performance, all the while improving your skills and honing your craft. And these tips will help you do just that! We hope you’ve learned a little something new, and that you’re inspired to try out some of these tips to improve your health. And remember, listen to your body and do what makes you comfortable and the most successful. Stay musical!