Music Student Resources
The health and well-being of our student musicians is paramount at Elizabethtown College. We strive to make sure that our students are educated on how to avoid obstacles or injury that may prevent them from performing at the top of their ability.
Maintenance of hearing health
Students should be aware of when sounds are overly loud and have the potential to damage hearing.
The CDC and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/noise/default.html) recommends hearing protection at given decibel levels.
- The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for occupational noise exposure is 85 decibels, A-weighted, as an 8-hour time-weighted average (85 dBA as an 8-hr TWA) using a 3-dB exchange rate. Exposures at or above this level are considered hazardous.
- Use the NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls to reduce workplace noise to below the NIOSH REL whenever possible. Use hearing protection when hazardous noise levels cannot be adequately reduced.
Maintenance of vocal health
To build a strong and healthy voice, students should be intentional about how they use their speaking and singing voices.
- Speaking voices: Students should look up resources related to “vocal fry” and ensure that their speaking register is in a register in the most relaxed and resonant part of the voice. We encourage students to spend time warming up each day before speaking. Additionally, music educators and music therapists need to pay attention to demands of a education or clinical space and seek voice amplification if it is necessary in a given space. The failure to do so could result in vocal injury.
- Hydration: We encourage students to drink a sufficient amount of water each day. Singing and speaking requires a well-hydrated vocal apparatus.
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol: Smoking, caffeine, and alcohol can dehydrate the body and vocal mechanism and contribute in other ways to unhealthy vocal practices.
- Vocal warm-up and healthy singing: Speak with your applied voice teacher about proper approaches to vocal warm-up and the development of healthy approaches to singing. Good singing requires a relaxed body and healthy vocal support. The development of such is an area of ongoing study.
Elizabethtown College supports students in intentional efforts to support the health and wellbeing of our students. We encourage students to be aware of counseling support services and services related to health and wellbeing that are provided through the Bowers Center for Fitness and Wellbeing.
In addition, our faculty have curated some of the following links and information relavant to explorations of mental health resources:
- https://backline.care/ (Mental Health & Wellness Resources for the Music Industry)
Maintenance of Musculoskeletal Health and Injury Prevention
In coordination with our occupational therapy program and our MU 100 repertoire class, we explore principles of Musculoskeletal Health and Injury Prevention.
Elizabethtown College faculty encourage students to explore how posture and playing position impact your wellbeing as a musician. We encourage you to have frequent and ongoing conversations with your applied faculty member regarding performance health and injury prevention.
We also encourage students to explore resources related to Alexander Technique and to attend periodic guest lectures we offer on Alexander Technique.
Additionally, we provide links to https://www.musicianshealth.com/
The use, proper handling, and operation of potentially dangerous equipment:
Elizabethtown College is vigilant about the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff. We encourage students who may be encountering heavy or potentially dangerous equipment to stop, pause, and ask for needed resources and support when encountering potentially dangerous equipment. Students should contact a relevant faculty member with questions about potentially dangerous equipment.