Green leaf close up. Source:

The Pain & Discomfort Survey for Musicians 2016 - Body Mapping Australia


Fifty-seven participants of varying backgrounds with playing experience ranging between just three through to sixty years. Respondents represented staff and students of different conservatoriums, members of instrumental and vocal ensembles, beginners through to professionals.


The BMA survey results were quite consistent with similar studies conducted previously in Australia and overseas with 96% of respondents experiencing some level of discomfort while playing their instrument or singing.


A third of participants experience pain frequently or constantly while engaged in making music.


Intensity of discomfort, registered on a scale from none (1) to high (5), was rated at level 3 by 39% of survey participants, while 23% scored their pain as high intensity at level 4 or 5.


The majority of respondents experience problems in their neck and shoulder, with back and wrist the next most common problem areas.


61% of respondents report pain or discomfort in three or more areas with a third reporting recurrent flare-ups of their problem while their pain is either staying the same or getting worse over time.


Musicians may be staying silent on their own suffering when dealing with management or teachers, however 7% are using medication for pain or seeking out physical and alternative therapies for respite (79%).


A large majority of respondents believe that movement is impacting their endurance, their technical facility and their enjoyment in performance.

And three quarters are feeling the impact of playing-related pain on the rest of their lives!