Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Carroll, Liam. The unique demands of playing posture on youth violinists and violists. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. March 2020.


Copyright Liam Carroll 2020.


The high prevalence of performing arts injuries is an acknowledged challenge facing the performing arts medicine community. The injuries seem to affect string players the most among orchestral musicians, specifically violinists and violists. The asymmetrical posture, head and neck displacement, and spinal displacement required by the posture to play violin and viola can lead to discomfort or injury in the performer. Performance related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) can have an adverse impact on the life of a musician, preventing them from performing or making it uncomfortable. While there is a large body of research on PRMDs relating to adult musicians, there have been few investigations of the unique challenges faced by children playing violin or viola. The two instruments have similar posture, leading to similar potential risk factors. The muscular tissue, rapid bodily change and growth, general misfit between child and instrument, backpack use, and desk posture of children playing the violin and viola prevent unique risk factors that are not found in adults. Potential solutions to these risk factors include proper instrument sizing with a chin rest and shoulder rest and posture awareness with an emphasis on balance and pain treatment. The advancement of research into youth-related performing arts injuries could play a part in reducing the alarmingly high levels of performance related injury in adult violinists and violists.