TTTV070: Avoiding Pianistic Injury with Dr Bronwen Ackermann

pianistic injury

How much importance do you place on technique in your studio? Chances are if you’ve experienced a pianistic injury yourself you consider your technique teaching very carefully. It can be hard to undo bad habits we get into through years of study.

Playing an instrument is a physical task, but we don’t often think about it that way. A professional athlete would have a team of physiotherapists behind them. So why do you not see the same for a concert pianist?

Dr. Bronwen Achermann

Dr. Bronwen Ackermann suffered an injury from playing clarinet when she was younger. She assumed her experience was unusual and that most musicians had better technique training than she did.

When she became a physiotherapist she discovered most musicians didn’t know enough about the anatomy. We need to understand how our bodies work to avoid a pianistic injury.

Bronwen is on the show today to give us a medical and technical perspective on piano technique. We’re talking about how to prevent pianistic injuries and how to teach our students better techniques from the start.

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Please find a full transcript of this episode at the bottom of this page. Alternatively, click below to download a PDF. If you are an Inner Circle Member, you can find the full video and transcript in the Member Resources AreaNot a member? See below for how you can get $1o0 off your membership today. 

In this episode, you’ll learn

  • How Bronwen came to specialise in physiotherapy for musicians
  • What to watch out for when teaching beginning piano students
  • How to adjust seating for young pianists
  • The ideal hand and wrist position for avoiding pianistic injury
  • Rotation and the Taubman approach from a medical perspective
  • How to warm-up before even touching the piano
  • The importance of goal oriented practice
  • What to do when a piano student is in pain
  • Solutions to common piano technique issues

Links Mentioned

Warmup Video

A number of teachers have asked to see the video of the warmup section of our conversation. Please find it below – I hope it’s helpful. Please feel free to refer your students to it.


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Thank you for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.

Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.

Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.

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Full Transcript


How do you approach technique in your teaching?

Do you place a big importance on how your students sit at the piano, or how they hold their arms?

Does Bronwen’s idea of a physical warm-up before you sit down at the piano appeal to you?

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