The Los Angeles Times recently featured an interesting article on the injuries that plague many classical musicians. Although one wouldn’t immediately think of classical music as being inherently dangerous, the truth is that many classical musicians suffer serious injuries as a result of their hours of practice and performance.
The article stated that holding positions with tense muscles for extended periods of time can be very hard on the body. Torn rotator cuffs, back injuries, repetitive stress injuries, hernias and hearing problems are all ailments commonly cited by classical musicians, some of which are career-ending.
One woman who played violin with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra for 27 years said that it left her with weakened muscles, tendonitis and a repetitive stress injury in the arm that she used to vigorously move the bow. The woman said it took six months of intensive treatment to get the injuries to go away, but others aren’t as lucky.
Another violinist who spent more than 40 years with the Los Angeles Philharmonic said he can no longer lift his shoulder despite having three rotator-cuff surgeries. Though the seasoned musician will likely never be able to play his instrument again he still has a sense of humor. He compared being a professional classical musician to being a professional football player with all of the injuries suffered.
When a person suffers injuries that makes it no longer possible to perform a job, he or she might be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. SSDI is a government program for disabled workers suffering serious and long-term medical conditions. In order to qualify for SSDI, the condition must be expected to last a year or more or result in death. For more information, talk to a SSDI attorney in your area.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Classical musicians suffer for their art — literally,” Donna Perlmutter, Aug. 2, 2013