Playing-related disabling musculoskeletal disorders in young and adult classical piano students

  • S. Bruno
  • A. Lorusso
  • N. L’AbbateEmail author
Original Article



To determine the prevalence of instrument-related musculoskeletal problems in classical piano students and investigate piano-specific risk factors.


A specially developed four parts questionnaire was administered to classical piano students of two Apulian conservatories, in southern Italy. A cross-sectional design was used. Prevalences of playing related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) were calculated and cases were compared with non-cases.


A total of 195 out of the 224 piano students responded (87%). Among 195 responders, 75 (38.4%) were considered affected according to the pre-established criteria. Disabling MSDs showed similar prevalence rates for neck (29.3%), thoracic spine (21.3%) and upper limbs (from 20.0 to 30.4%) in the affected group. Univariate analyses showed statistical differences concerning mean age, number of hours per week spent playing, more than 60 min of continuative playing without breaks, lack of sport practice and acceptability of “No pain, no gain” criterion in students with music-related pain compared with pianists not affected. Statistical correlation was found only between upper limbs diseases in pianists and hand sizes. No correlation with the model of piano played was found in the affected group. The multivariate analyses performed by logistic regression confirmed the independent correlation of the risk factors age, lack of sport practice and acceptability of “No pain, no gain” criterion.


Our study showed MSDs to be a common problem among classical piano students. With variance in several studies reported, older students appeared to be more frequently affected by disabling MSDs and no difference in the prevalence rate of the disorders was found in females.


Musculoskeletal PRMDs Pianists 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine and Public MedicineUniversity of BariBariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medical and Occupational SciencesUniversity of FoggiaFoggiaItaly

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