Playing (Less) Hurt


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Janet Horvath won the gold medal in the Independant Publisher (I.P.P.Y.) Awards 2009! 

Find Janet at the Minnesota Orchestra! Visit the Minnesota Orchestra website for more information.

Let’s talk about something scary, something musicians are even more reticent to talk about than overuse injury. Hearing loss is on the rise and is a danger to all of us. Read Janet Horvath's white paper on hearing loss for more information.

Janet Horvath now has a regular column on Interlude HK a classical music online magazine. Her articles range from health issues relevant to professional and student musicians as well as humorous behind-the-scenes- stories about life as a musician. These articles are of interest to all musicians, giving excellent advice on strategies to deal with existing injuries as well as how to avoid injury, and gives an insiders view of all things music!

Janet Horvath's article on "Posture Pointers" appears in a 2006 issue of Strings Magazine. This article is an excellent overview of the all-important issue of posture and how it relates to tension and injury. Ms. Horvath discusses "Risky Postures," "Tension" and its relationship to posture, "Natural" postures, as well as other points related to appropriate posture for performing musicians.

When you hear the words "Mahler's Fifth," you probably think "great music." Janet Horvath wants you to think "phenomenal athleticism." Horvath, associate principal cellist of the Minnesota Orchestra and a pioneer in performing arts medicine, has been on a mission to get musicians, instructors and management to realize that playing any instrument is physically demanding. (Interview by Chrys Wu)


"If you're an orchestral musician you could be at serious risk of long-term hearing damage. Janet Horvath looks at some simple and effective solutions."The Strad (December 2004)

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You Play With Your Will

The Olympics came to a close this evening and I have again had some revelations about sports and music at their best.

When I was a student, I have the opportunity to play for Gyorgy Sebök the consummate piano pedagogue, for his chamber music class in Ernen, Switzerland. I was preparing for the cello-piano duo competition in Munich. I had worked like a dog. I was disciplined, focused and determined.

After playing the Beethoven A major sonata for him, Sebök sat back and quietly said " You play with your will." There was a stunned silence from everyone attending the class, including me. Although it was evident to me that it was not a compliment, I had no clue as to what he meant! It took many months to figure out that he felt I was not allowing the music to flow freely. In my attempt to play flawlessly and impeccably, I had restrained and corralled my music-making with my ambition  "to succeed no matter what." 

Today as I relfect on the astonishing, inspiring accomplishments of the athletes these last days, I am reminded that one has to take great risks in order to realize the rewards. That is true in music too. The fear of errors, the holding back even just a little bit, diminishes the performance and the audience can feel it.

The Olympics have given us another look at the potential of working hard, and following our dreams. 

But after all the months and years of work and practice, when we arrive to perform there is nothing to do but to take a leap of faith with supreme confidence, let go of our will and do it!


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