The Performer's Wellness Initiative is a project sponsored by X Factor Wellness, Carol Nave and Matt Trudo, owners. Carol Nave is author of this article.
The Performer’s Wellness Initiative (PWI) has been an idea that I have been thinking about, researching, and living for the past several years. I have personally experienced the benefits of physical activity, healthy eating, managing stress, and learning to be a savvy healthcare consumer. These are things you don’t learn in school (I have a DM in Organ Performance) but are essential to having a life-long career as an artist.
All of us who play instruments understand that there is nothing quite as fulfilling as making music. Whether collaborating with a musical team, or practicing and performing alone, we have the opportunity to create beauty that impacts our communities for good. The passion we feel for mastering musical materials is almost addictive. Most musicians I know couldn’t dream of doing anything else.
But, that being said, a musical life is not an easy one. Mastering an instrument takes years of dedication, discipline, intense concentration, and sheer will. The combination of a highly competitive environment, low pay, the loneliness of solitary practice, the stress of travel, managing performance anxiety, and dealing with public perception can all take a toll on a talented artist.
In the past few years, a conversation about another, perhaps bigger challenge has begun to take place with performing artists. That is the obstacle of physical pain and a healthy lifestyle. Because a performer uses their body to interface with their instrument (a singer’s body is their instrument) proper technique and ease of playing is essential to a long career. The conversation, however, extends past technique. Healthy eating, appropriate exercise, managing stress, and preventive healthcare all play a part.
After experiencing a long bout with ulnar neuritis, I began exploring options for recovery and rehabilitation. I practiced flexibility exercises and corrective strength training for postural deviations that I had developed. I experimented with various dietary changes that made a difference in my ability to focus and to maintain a healthy (not skinny) weight and better cardio vascular health. I learned some principles of meditation and began to practice every day as a way to manage stress. I found a teacher that helped me analyze my technique and make changes that improved my playing.
If you have pain or are struggling with health issues, there is hope. I was able to find a way through my struggles with playing, performing and just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For the last 7 years I have been helping others work through these issues as well. Matt Trudo and I have owned X Factor Wellness for more than seven years, and we have helped hundreds of people see results when it comes to their health. We offer health coaching (in person or online), personal training, and public speaking. If you think we could help you, give us a call. We would love to hear from you.
Call Carol at 713.443.6922 for information on health coaching or speaking at your next event.
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