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)

Main | Review from the amateur chamber music society »

Praise for Playing (Less) Hurt

I have just finished reading this magnificent book. Amazing! I am so impressed by the incredible work that Ms.
Horvath has done on the issues that plague many musicians. This book has invaluable advice on how all musicians, young and older, can avoid repetitive stress injury entirely. In spite of world class training, I 've had lower back surgery, hearing loss, and both reconstructive hand and shoulder surgery in the course of my 30 year career. It took me these injuries and years of thinking and experimenting to arrive at the conclusions contained within the book; the book is an incredibly valuable weath of knowledge and information that will educate musicians to practice and play smarter, healthier and happier! I plan to make it required reading for all of my students at my university. I also recommend it highly to my colleagues! Thank you on behalf of all of us.

Stephen Balderston
Former Section Cello, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Former Assistant Principal, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Professor of Cello, DePaul University School of Music
Cellist, The American Chamber Players
“Here we are some forty years later and Janet Horvath’s book Playing (Less) Hurt “An Injury Prevention Guide For Musicians” shows up on my desk from the publisher Hal Leonard. I began reading Janet’s book last week and couldn’t put it down. I found it so interesting and well written...Playing (Less) Hurt is the bible for all musicians and a must read book. Now, today! Not later but now, today! Even if you have not had any injury problems (and believe you will live forever) my suggestion is you need to get real and read Janet Horvath’s book.”

“As someone who has been teaching instrumental playing principles for well nigh seven decades, I find Ms. Horvath’s book rife with helpful, valuable, and entertaining data. The ground she covers is immense, written with knowledge, understanding, style, aplomb and humor. No reader can put it down without some beneficial learning.”

— Janos Starker
Distinguished Professor of Music
Indiana University

“Musicians too often suffer pain and dysfunction strikingly at odds with their extraordinary skill and the perceived ease of their achievements. Janet Horvath’s eloquent guide provides a much-needed reference for diagnosing, treating, and avoiding these potentially devastating conditions. Her book comes to the rescue of even the most brilliant teachers and their equally brilliant students.”

— Garrick Ohlsson

“This well and intelligently written book … provides a systematic examination of the many risks to their health faced by present day musicians … an articulate advocate for making musicians, managements and medical people alike aware of the potential for physical consequences of the demands of the instrument … a valuable resource for musicians already in an orchestra and for those anticipating this career.”

— Alice Brandfonbrenner, M.D.
Director, Medical Program for Performing Artists
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Editor, MPPA mag.

“Every musician should be aware of the valuable musical and medical information in this book.”

— William Preucil
Concertmaster, The Cleveland Orchestra

“Janet Horvath has written a book of vital importance to all musicians … an essential guide to protecting and promoting playing health. “Playing Less Hurt” is a book I urge music teachers, students and professionals to

— Nora Shulman
Principal Flute, The Toronto Symphony

“ … a wonderful resource of information …impressive research and work …”

— Michael Sachs
Principal Trumpet, The Cleveland Orchestra

“ … a very timely book [which] applies to musicians at an international level … With acute and sympathetic insight, Janet Horvath lists and analyzes every possible injury that can befall players on any instrument. She offers many useful suggestions as well as physical exercises both to prevent and to alleviate these injuries … I strongly recommend it.”

— Kato Havas
World-renowned violin teacher and
Author, “Stage Fright, Its Causes and Cures”
“We thank you so much for the book. It certainly is full of terrific information and beautifully organized ... also very readable! It must be truly helpful to every musician who has a physical problem of some kind (i.e. just about everybody!)”

— Gary Graffman
Director of the Curtis Institute
and renowned pianist

“I love your book and I couldn't have discovered it at a better time.”

— Brooke Hoplamazian

“Every Musician and Music Teacher Should Own This Book. At last there is a book that deals specifically with musician injury prevention .... If you're a musician, a music student, a music teacher, or a doctor or therapist who works with musicians, you need to own this book. Janet Horvath has pulled together years of research into one comprehensive book. An enjoyable read and an invaluable resource, Playing (less) Hurt is a book you'll read, reread and refer to time and again.”

— Paul Schulz

“What an incredible book you have written! Thank you again for this important book.”

— Lorna Joy Swain

“Thanks for your wonderfully helpful book. I am a Feldenkrais teacher in the San Francisco area and a musician. I am recommending your book to all the musicians with whom I work.”

— Mary Spire

“I am a plastic surgeon who does a very large amount of hand surgery, a lot of it worker's comp. Being an amateur violinist, I thought your book was extremely well researched and put together ... and (is) essentially 100 percent accurate, which is truly a first for medical info in a book written for non-physicians.”

— Dr. Daniel Corlew

“Thank you for the wonderful service you have done all musicians with your research and your courage in opening up about pain, as well as the concerted effort involved in putting a book together.”

Nancy Bjork
Double Bass teacher
and performer