Functional Advice For Musicians Who Want Long, Healthy Careers – Austin Pancner | Ep. 74




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This week on the podcast we have an interview with Austin Pancner, otherwise known as “The Functional Musician”. Not only does Austin play the bass trombone, he has started a business to help musicians develop great physical and mental health habits as well. Many of you know fitness is a big part of my life, so I was really excited to have the opportunity to speak with Austin and learn from him about how important these practices are in our lives. Here are a few key points from his episode:

Injuries Are Normal, But They Shouldn’t Be

Austin’s journey to becoming the functional musician went through a number of years defined by bandaid solutions to bodily injuries. Instead of finding wholistic solutions to his problems, he wanted to keep moving forward at all costs. He describes using a tool that held the weight of his bass trombone so he didn’t have shoulder that burden and lessen the stress on his injured body.

Unfortunately, this is all too common. Musicians develop tension in their arm, shoulders, upper back, lower back, and hips from repetitive use of small muscles and sitting for hours on end. Without an ability to strengthen the muscles or counteract hours of sitting with exercises to improve mobility and flexibility, we tend to accept the bandaid solution as our new reality.

You’re Going To Spend The Money Somewhere

Not wanting to invest in resistance equipment or gym memberships is a common problem for people an any field, not just music. We generally feel ok, and those memberships can add up month after month. As Austin described in our interview though, his rehabilitation for his injury was at least as expensive if not more. Spending money on rehab may be necessary for some, but more many of us, spending money on pre-habiliation measures can produce similar outward results, but can often produce a healthier inward result during the process.

Better Health Means Better Practice

Whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual health, there’s no question that striving to improve health in these areas will make a big impact on the posture with which you approach the work. For example, being able to comfortably sit with good posture means the breath we take (wind players will be more affected by this) will have less tension, which will produce a more free and easy sound.

Being able to find a good mental space means our practice will be full of focus and improvement, and less characterized by negative self talk or frustration at a perceived lack of progress. One of Austin’s pillars of health and wellness is mindfulness for this reason: our mindset will have a huge impact on how we approach the work.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you want to find out more about Austin’s work or contact him, here is his website:

If you wouldn’t mind heading over to iTunes and leaving a rating and a review on iTunes, I would really appreciate it. Don’t forget to share the episode on social media so others can find it. Thanks so much for listening – stay strong, be kind to yourself, and never stop growing!

Until next time,


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