Why musicians are missing out on the best nutrition support

With the current media trend to present the latest results from new scientific research, the connection between food and health is undisputed. To maximise the benefits of this scientific knowledge about food choices, it is vital to acknowledge the significance of the role of food, not only in illness but also in wellness. Food choices contribute not only to the dysfunction of systems in the body but also to the efficient functioning of systems in the body. Popular generic information, however, falls short of the potential of evidence-based scientific nutrition for highly personalised nutritional support.


Specialised nutrition

The sports world was quick to jump on this recognition of the role of food and to take decisive steps in the development of sports nutrition. Both leisure and elite athletes have access to specialist information about nutrients to enhance their sports performance. No elite athlete would train or compete without a food plan. Sports nutrition is highly visible and currently attracting unprecedented levels of interest. In March 2024 sports nutrition was the leader in the field for enquiries on Nutritionist Resource, with 1910 keyword searches. What, then, about specialist nutrition for musicians?

Music performance and physiology 

In striking contrast to sports nutrition, there were zero searches on Nutritionist Resource for keywords relating to nutrition for musicians. Why is this? To validate the point of this question, it’s essential to recognise that there is a parallel between athletes and musicians. Both sports and music performance are physiologically demanding. Both sports and music performance are associated with similar benefits for health. Parallels have been found in the heart rate responses of professional musicians in a concert performance with professional athletes, highlighting the physiological demands of music performance. Like athletes, however, musicians are at risk of musculoskeletal problems. Initiatives such as Health Education and Improvement Wales recognise the need for a specialist understanding of the range of health conditions affecting musicians. 

The question is valid. Nutritional support is just as relevant for musicians as athletes. So, why are musicians not searching for this important information? Quite simply, nutrition for musicians is not yet visible in the same way as sports nutrition. Nutrition for musicians is, however, real.

Nutrition for musicians

Musicians have dedicated years of intense training for more than a career choice. Becoming a musician is a life choice. While a musician’s journey has been fuelled by passion, discipline and commitment, what has been fuelling the musician at the heart of the music performance? Self-care has not always featured in music education. In more recent years, however, some yoga classes or Alexander technique sessions may have been included in music training. This is an important acknowledgement that musicians need to be educated about taking care of their own well-being. 

A 360 approach to self-care includes a focus on the nutrition fuelling the musician. Food is more than a source of energy. Food is the main source of nutrients for body and mind. The science of nutrition has evolved to replace generic nutritional advice with a highly personalised understanding of the impact of nutrients on each individual’s unique cells and biochemical reactions. This creates the…opportunity for musicians to take control and maximise the benefits of nutrients for their well-being.

Musicians’ health  

Musicians’ health, until now a largely neglected area, is being recognised as a specialist area of medicine. A range of specific mental and physical health conditions associated with music performance has been identified. Musculoskeletal conditions resulting from injuries and overuse feature prominently in the profile of physical health conditions associated with music performance. Musicians belong to an occupational group most likely to suffer from mental illness, with high rates of anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Music performance anxiety affects many musicians. Musicians are also vulnerable to alcohol and drug addictions.

The consequences of some health conditions may be devastating, career-threatening, and, at worst, career-ending. The recognition of these specific health conditions is accompanied by a recognition of the need for specialist understanding and management of musicians’ health. Musicians depend on practitioners understanding the impact of these conditions on their music performance. Education in self-care for musicians, including nutritional support, helps them to take an active role in managing their health both therapeutically and preventively.

Music performance and resilience

Musicians often contend with the challenges of long working hours, poor working conditions, solitary practice, and the demands of travel. The potential for demoralisation is increased in a profession characterised by financial insecurity and uncertain opportunities. The world of music performance is highly competitive. When opportunities are restricted, musicians have to compete fiercely. Musicians may be under even more pressure to achieve high-performance standards and to keep quiet about health problems. The accumulation of stressors may ultimately lead to burnout. 

A holistic approach acknowledges physical, mental and spiritual health the mental and emotional impact of the challenges musicians face and prioritises the well-being of body and mind. Lifestyle coaching helps musicians to explore their strengths to develop coping skills for adverse situations. 

Personalised nutrition for musicians

The benefits of nutrition for musicians are maximised by a personalised approach enhanced by a specialist understanding of musicians’ health and well-being. 

  • Holistic approach - A 360 view of health and well-being supports your whole self for proactive self-care.
  • Scientific data - Insights from tests and tools provide precise information to clarify your individual biology, cells and biochemical reactions for personalised goals.
  • Education in self-care - Guidance from a nutritionist helps you to understand the implications of nutrition for your well-being.
  • Client-led - Health and well-being coaching draws from a range of techniques to help you develop coping skills.
  • Music performance - Nutrition has the potential to help you optimise your music performance, from pre-performance practice routines to post-performance recovery and reset.

Musicians’ well-being programmes

My commitment to scientific nutrition drives me to keep up to date with the latest nutritional information and research relevant to musicians’ health and well-being. By combining this knowledge with my insights into life as a musician, I can offer musicians the benefits of specialist personalised nutrition. 

  • Every confidential programme begins with a 1:1 breakthrough session for you to share your unique story and your aspirations. Together we will identify your personal well-being goals.
  • Every personalised programme is created with a full assessment of your story. I create realistic plans for you, supported with practical resources and ongoing access to advice.
  • Programmes are designed to empower you with the knowledge to make your choices. Proactive self-care will help you to sustain your career and support your long-term health and well-being.
  • Programmes are delivered with lifestyle coaching which values your perspective. This allows you the time and space to reflect on your strengths to help you implement changes and build resilience.
  • Relevant tests may be recommended, such as DNALife-specific gene profiles so that you can improve the impact of your genes.
  • Relevant tools may be recommended, such as a FirstBeat monitor so that you can harness the power of beneficial stress responses.

Working with me starts with a free online well-being review. This is your opportunity to find out what you can expect before you join me on your journey to improve your wellness. 


1. Health Education and Improvement Wales (2020) Health Problems of Musicians. Available at: https://gpcpd.heiw.wales/clinical/health-problems-of-musicians/ (Accessed 4.4.2024)

2. Niarchou, M., Lin, G.T., Lense, M.D. et al (2021) Medical phenome of musicians: an investigation of health records collected on 9803 musically active individuals. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Ruardean, Gloucestershire, GL17
Written by Jane Hickey, DipNT mBANT rCNHC
Ruardean, Gloucestershire, GL17

Jane, a registered Nutritional Therapist, specialises in the health and wellbeing of musicians with one to one programmes to support conditions associated with music performance.

Jane is also available for talks to groups and has a special interest in supporting music students learn the importance of self care.

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