Hi! My name is Austin Pancner and I am a musician injury coach, bass trombonist, and educator.
As a musicians injury coach, I view health and wellness in the lens of a holistic perspective.
But what exactly does that mean?
I look at a client's whole being - the body, mind, and spirit.
This includes assessing, programming, and helping someone develop their health and wellness foundation that supports their career and lifestyle.
As musicians, when we experience pain, I believe there is never one cause, as the mental and physical are deeply connected and pain can be extremely complicated. This is why it's important to assess someone physically, emotionally, and develop a plan that can realistically take someone from point a to point b, while educating, integrating, and empowering them to become their own teacher. After all - part of the conversation should be about sustainability. If an approach isn't sustainable for someone, they will ultimately fall back into old habits.
Let's look at the after effects of how a holistic approach on someone's health can impact someone, using a real-world example of a client that graduated from the program a few months ago.
During the summer, I had the honor to work with a science teacher and oboist, Jessy (last name has been changed to protect her identity). Rather than explain what Jessy experienced, here is her story in her own words!
"My name is Jessy and I teach Environmental Science to high schoolers, but played oboe all throughout college and still value playing as a creative outlet. Teaching can be an extremely stressful job and practicing my oboe is the one thing I always did consistently for myself. Unfortunately due to an old shoulder injury from participating in sports, I started having intense pain in my right shoulder. The problem got steadily worse until I could not hold up my oboe for more than ten minutes without being in an incredible amount of pain.
As I’m not a professional musician I felt that I had to accept that I could no longer play and would have to find another outlet. Nothing gave me as much satisfaction though as playing my oboe and I was devastated. I tried going to the chiropractor, using a neck strap on my instrument and icing my joints, but nothing seemed to help.
My friend went to college with Austin and introduced us after I told her how much I missed playing and how frustrated I was about not being able to find any solution.
I figured nothing else had worked so I might as well give Austin a call. At first I was nervous to reach out because I am not a serious musician and wasn’t sure if the program would work for me. My unease was completely unfounded and Austin seemed really excited to help me."
Before starting the program Austin took a long time getting as much information about my situation as possible and I’m really grateful for that as I felt the program was tailored specifically towards my needs and goals. It took three months, but I can now play again regularly for long periods of time with no pain at all! I’m so glad to be able to play again as it’s one of the few things I do that doesn’t involve my job. Teachers don’t have the best work life balance. I’m getting better at that balance though because now I take the time to care for my body every day.
In general I experience less pain, even after being on my feet all day. I am much more aware of my body and I have even taken up jogging again! Austin helped me get here by holding me accountable while being one of the most positive and supportive people I have had the pleasure of meeting." - Jessy
As you can tell, she had a very positive experience integrating a holistic approach on her health! Aside from her main goal of being able to play a certain length of time without any pain, here are some mental and physical changes Jessy made during the 12 weeks:
I’m really happy with how I can listen to my body and make adjustments as I need to in order to stay mobile and pain free.
Less pain in my right shoulder.
Increased flexibility in my legs and lat muscles.
Less tired and more energy throughout the day.
Better quality of sleep.
I feel calmer more of the time.
Being in pain is less mentally traumatic because I know what to do to address the problem.
I’m more prepared for my days due to the development of sustainable routines.
I don’t try to keep up a routine or action that I find is no longer working for me, I’m more flexible and willing to change things up.
As you can see, it's never just about the pain. There are SO many benefits to approaching your health and wellness from a holistic perspective. Not only does it take the individual into account, but also has positive ripple effects on different areas of life. After all - health and wellness is what supports YOU and you CANNOT have health mental and physical health.
Last thing I'll say - It was an absoluate pleasure working with Jessy. I am also extremely honored to be in this industry and honored to be a resource, guide, and source for musicians during times that are confusing, frustrating, and dark. I hope these conversations can be a beacon of hope for anyone who might be going through a difficult time with tension, pain, or injury.
If you are going through an injury, know that you are NOT alone. You have more power than you think and despite how long you have been experiencing pain, there is still hope. If you have any questions or want to submit an application into my program, please click the link below!