Conditioning for Musicians: Transplanting the Methods of Personal Training to the Music Practice Room

Open Access
Cichocki, Brooke Eliza
Area of Honors:
Music Education
Bachelor of Music Education
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Charles Dowell Youmans, Thesis Supervisor
  • Linda Carol Porter Thornton, Honors Advisor
  • music
  • music education
  • personal training
  • wellness
  • musician practice
  • practice plan
  • training plan
This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the parallels between athletic training and music practice. The paper explores the parallels between athletic training and music practice through vignettes, as well as through a review of literature. The review of literature explores these parallels through definitions of practice, the role of mentors in developing habits, the function of structure and contextual interference, the effectiveness of holistic approaches, and the concept of expert performance and deliberate practice. Next, the paper uses the deliberate, strategic methods of athletic training to inform the creation of a practice plan for classically trained collegiate wind musicians that seek to increase stamina, improve technical skill, strengthen breath support, heighten mindfulness, and improve focus. Finally, it contains instructions for use of the practice plan, as well as suggestions for modifications musicians may use to adapt the plan to fit their specific goals and practice styles. Developed to be a practical application of the research, the plan is intended for the collegiate wind musician seeking to incorporate structure into their pre-existing practice routine.