Health, Wellness, and Safety
The MSU School of Music, as required by the National Association of Schools of Music, is proactive in informing and training anyone who might be physically endangered by practicing, performing, teaching, or listening to music. This information and training is designed to guard against injury and illness and raise awareness of the musician's health, wellness, and safety.
It is important to note that health and safety depend largely on personal decisions made by informed individuals. MSU 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 MSU'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 MSU School of Music. The policies, protocols, and operational procedures developed by the School of Music 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.
Students are encouraged to supplement information obtained in their lessons, seminars, master classes, and guest lectures regarding musicians' health, wellness, and safety issues by utilizing the resources listed below. The following resources contain best practices related to health, wellness, and safety in musical settings. These are links to research-based strategies for maintaining personal health and safety within the contexts of practice, performance, teaching, and listening.
Protecting Your Hearing Health
- Music Induced Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection, by John F. King, Au.D.
- OSHA: Noise/Hearing Conservation
- Hearing Loss Decibel Levels
- Noises and Hearing Loss
- Dangerous Decibels
- National Hearing Conservation Association
Musculoskeletal/Vocal Health and Injury
- The Alexander Technique
- Dalcroze Society of America
- Performing Arts Medicine Association
Psychological Health and Wellness
- MSU Counseling and Psychological Services
- Performance Anxiety (WebMD)
- The Inner Game of Music , by Barry Green and W. Timothy Gallwey (text)
- A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances , by Eloise Ristad (text)
Equipment and Technology Safety
- Students working as concert monitors in Reynolds Recital Hall must complete a training session on how to safely move the grand pianos on stage. Contact the School of Music office for information.
- Students working as audio/recording technicians must complete a training session on how to safely use the sound system and recording equipment, and how to safely lift and carry stage monitors. Contact the School of Music office for information.
Acoustic Conditions in Practice, Rehearsal, and Performance Facilities
Although MSU's acoustically-treated practice, rehearsal, and performance facilities meet OSHA Noise Standards, students must be mindful of exposure to excessive noise levels for extended periods of time. OSHA guidelines define excessive noise levels as 90 decibels or higher for more than 8 hours. For more information, please see the linked decibel comparison chart. Decibel levels specific to musical performance, listening, mixing are discussed in the article, What Volume (In Decibels) Should Audio Be Mixed/Listened At?
- Ear plugs or hearing protection are advised for all students and faculty that are exposed to noise and loud music beyond what the OSHA Noise Standards recommend. Playing music has its inherent risks and students and faculty should take steps to protect their hearing whenever possible.
- Some large ensembles exceed recommended noise exposure levels. Those ensembles can include Jazz Band, Wind Symphony, Marching Band, and Orchestra. Wearing hearing protection can help minimize the risk of hearing loss.
- If “ringing” (Tinnitus) of the ears becomes a problem, you should seek medical advice.