Fit to Play

Mental and Physical Fitness for Musicians

The underlying idea of this seminar is not new: mens sana in corpore sano:  mental well-being is inseparable from physical "wellness". Unfortunately, musicians often look for information only when they are confronted with a very specific problem (mental or physical); too often then, only the immediate symptoms of the problem are addressed. Of course, one must learn to deal with specific problems when they occur (i.e. tendonitis) but a fit, healthy body and efficient practice methods are still the best injury prevention just as self-confidence and mental balance allow musicians to forget themselves and to concentrate on the task at hand (the music).

The goal of this seminar is to introduce the principles and techniques of mental and physical fitness training and to help musicians incorporate them in a comprehensive personal preparation plan. Participants get to know themselves (their body and their mind) and learn to recognize their own thinking patterns and habits; how they react to various situations, which effect their mental frame of mind has on their body (hence, their performance) and vice versa. They re/gain control of themselves - body and mind. This brings them one step closer to their personal goal: consistent optimal performance while maintaining or rediscovering their love of music and their enjoyment of "playing".

An informative Open Lecture "The Essence of Excellence" introduces the prerequisites to an optimal performance and explains how they can be integrated in a comprehensive preparation plan. This includes:

  • the mental/psychological prerequisites to excelling in music (goals, commitment, perspective, self-esteem, creativity, flexibility, spontaneity) and the mental training skills required to achieve or maintain them (goal setting, activation control, concentration, visualisation, positive thinking and constructive analysis);
  • the basics of physical fitness and training (nutrition, aerobic and anaerobic efficiency, strength, endurance and flexibility);  and,
  • the general principles of efficient practice (time management, concentration, motor learning).

In the following days, the main themes are addressed in more detail and their application to musical studies discussed. Through appropriate self-questions and/or exercises, students are encouraged to determine their present status, to acquire or master the skills presented and to integrate them in their own preparation plan.


Carole Talbot-Honeck, M.Sc.Kin. (Canada)
Mental and Physical Fitness Consultant