The Musician’s Body: A Maintenance Manual for Peak Performance – complete with safety instructions!

Making music is an intricate, skilled and demanding activity, which brings together a baffling array of the best the human mind and body can offer, demanding a well-balanced combination of mental, expressive and physical excellence. This is especially true at the level of professional musicians, who demand peak performance from their minds, hearts and bodies on a daily basis.

Musicians will generally agree that awareness of one’s body and its needs is essential for achieving peak performance, without really doing much about it. But in other fields of performance where the body is also expected to achieve at a high level, such as in sport, things are very different. All sports professionals and many amateurs consult physiotherapists for advice on how to avoid injury, carefully consider and control their diet, and always use warming-up and cooling down regimes. Sportsmen and women take the systematic daily training of their bodies very seriously. Musicians, on the other hand, often ignore any such practices and work for long hours in poor conditions without ever considering the long-term damage this may be causing, even though, just as in sport, their body is an essential part of their professional equipment.

The Musician’s Body: A Maintenance Manual for Peak Performance is inspired by the very well-known and respected manuals written for motor-car enthusiasts that are constant and helpful companions to many of those who wish to make their own repairs and undertake successful maintenance. The book, which includes cartoons and diagrams, is written for all musicians, whether amateur or professional, popular, rock, folk or classical, self-taught, or studying in conservatoires and music schools. The authors also helpfully provide some safety instructions to accompany the book…

Safety instructions

1. Read this instruction manual carefully and in its entirety before using your body as a musician. If you don’t do this, it could lead to something going wrong or to less than peak performance.

2. There is no single model for a musician’s body. This manual therefore describes the basic parts and functions of a general model and every musician must bear in mind all the possible differences that there may be between their body and the descriptions in the text.

3. The complexity of a musician’s body makes it impossible to describe all of its components and all the things it can do in a basic manual. For this same reason the diagrams and sketches do not show all of its parts but only those essential components that help you to understand your body’s basic operations. If you require further information please refer to more specific medical textbooks or a health professional.

4. You must remember that, currently, spare parts for a musician’s body are not being manufactured and that, in the immediate future, there are no plans for any company to manufacture replacements of similar quality and performance as the original parts. So we wholeheartedly recommend that you try to keep the originals in good order.

5. Not observing the precautionary measures described in this manual leads to more than 75% of musicians’ bodies malfunctioning. A third of these breakdowns have a temporary or permanent effect on musicians’ ability to perform.

6. Although professional musicians and instrumental teachers have already finished their music education, it is a well-known fact that they have a significant incidence of musculoskeletal problems. The review of the basic functioning of their body given by this manual will be an invaluable addition to their knowledge and a reinforcement of the good practice that is, at last, beginning to take place in the music industry.

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