Robert Estrin - piano expert

Can Diet and Exercise Affect Musical Performance?

Learn how diet and physical exercise may help with your musical performance.

In this video, Robert talks about how diet and physical exercise affect your musical performance, in the short and long term.

Released on April 15, 2015

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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin at and with a question, which is, "Are diet and exercise helpful for your musical performance?" This is a great question and you might be interested to know that there are differences depending upon what instrument you play is one thing. We're going to cover all of that today, and also talk about the ramifications for longevity of performance.

Well, I also play French horn. I play piano, I play French horn. And if I am under the weather, maybe I don't want to play Lizst Hungarian rhapsodies or other very taxing music if I'm really weak and tired, but I can certainly play a slow move of a Mozart's sonata and do okay with it and feel pretty good. But in the French horn, if I'm sick, I can't play anything, because playing a single note requires so much energy.

So think about this. Diet and exercise are intrinsically important if you're a wind player or any instrument that requires a lot of energy. Piano can require a lot of energy, some instruments require more than others, but there's a whole other facet to explore, which is the longevity of your musical career or your musical enjoyment, particularly with singers where their musical production is actually part of the body. If you don't take care of yourself, just getting a cold can destroy a musical performance. So yes, diet and exercise are fundamentally important, but there are other things to think about too, like the psychic energy you bring through your music. If you feel all run down and not very engaged, how can you possibly share in your music?

Now, while I say this, I've known so many exceptions to this rule. As a matter of fact, there are some phenomenally great musicians of all time, who not only had poor diet and exercise, some of them were even drug addicts. Yes, it's amazing what humans can achieve even in adverse situations. But if you want to put things in your favor, of course, good diet and exercise can't hurt and for longevity and for being able to play consistently. Obviously, good lifestyle is going to be helpful for you in the long run. So that's the long and short of it. It's kind obvious, isn't it? I'm so glad you joined me today and look forward to more videos. Once again, I'm Robert Estrin here at and
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

john Raftopoulos * VSM MEMBER * on April 16, 2015 @2:28 pm PST
hi! when I was 55, my wife died, and she was good at the piano. my daughter too, but she stopped when she left home to go to college. so I was left with a piano in the house. using my daughter's piano lessons I started teaching myself. (I knew something about music, as I used to play the piano accordion!) my question is "is age important as far as somebodies performance at the piano? I mean everybody I know, started as a kid, between 7 and 10 yo. Are people who start later condemned to be mediocre piano players?) thank you!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on April 16, 2015 @5:39 pm PST
Dear John, you should checkout this video by Robert where he answers your questions:

I hope that helps.
john Raftopoulos * VSM MEMBER * on April 17, 2015 @1:29 am PST
thank you! Robert's video covered fully my topic question!
Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on April 17, 2015 @10:02 am PST
Great to know that!
Tosh * VSM MEMBER * on April 15, 2015 @10:12 am PST
Those are wise comments, as always from you. On a related matter, growing up I noticed that very few musical students were involved in sports, which I thought then and now was a real shame. I saw a documentary about the great violinist, James Ehnes, playing hockey with some of his boyhood friends in his hometown. Being physically fit, however achieved, can only be a good thing, for a musician or a music student.
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