• Production still from SERSE
  • french horns
  • choir and orchestra
  • pianist, clarinetist, and violinist
  • violin section of orchestra
  • wind orchestra
  • Jazz Band on stage

Health and Safety for Musicians

The Department of Music at California State University Northridge (CSUN) has a strong commitment to the health and safety of musicians enrolled and working at the university. It has been a long standing practice that awareness of stress and injuries are addressed throughout our curriculum: in private lessons, studio classes, ensemble rehearsals and public concerts. The topic of Hearing Health is covered extensively in MUS 191/L.- Fundamentals of Music Technology and Lab, a core class that all music majors must complete. Additionally, MUS 291-Alexander Technique is an elective course offering to provide awareness and tools for tending to musculoskeletal and vocal health.

The students at CSUN are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the important information given below about Musician Health and Safety, and are encouraged to investigate the topics further through the selected reading list. Non-majors enrolled in courses including performing ensembles in the Department of Music are encouraged to become familiar with these safety issues as well. 

The university is vigilant towards the maintenance of healthy decibel levels at all events. To this end, we also encourage our students to address concerns about auditory levels in classrooms, rehearsal spaces, concert spaces and practice rooms to the Department Chair, who will take steps to ensure a safe environment for all students engaged in the performance and creation of music within the department.

The following maximum decibel (dB) levels are outlined in NASM/PAMA documents:

Recommended maximum daily exposure times (NIOSH) to sounds at or above 85 dB are as follows:

o 85 dB (vacuum cleaner, MP3 player at 1/3 volume) 8 hours
o 90 dB (blender, hair dryer) 2 hours
o 94 dB (MP3 player at 1/2 volume) 1 hour
o 100 dB (MP3 player at full volume, lawnmower) – 15 minutes
o 110 dB (rock concert, power tools) – 2 minutes
o 120 dB (jet planes at take-off) – without ear protection, sound damage is almost immediate 

Introductory Reading on Musician Health and Safety Issues

Hearing Health & Safety

Neuromusculoskeletal Health & Safety

Vocal Health & Safety

Further Reading on Hearing Health and Safety

Protect Your Hearing Every Day: Information and Recommendations for Student Musicians (NASM/PAMA)

Music Induced Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection, by John F. King, Au.D

Further Reading on Neuromusculoskeletal and Vocal Health

Protect Your Neuromusculoskeletal and Vocal Health Every Day: Information and Recommendations for Student Musicians (NASM/PAMA)

What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body; Barbara Conable, GIA Publications
What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body; Thomas Carson Mark, GIA Publications
What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body; Kurt-Alexander Zeller, GIA Publications