Professional Certificate Program in

Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique

Salem College, Winston-Salem, North Carolina


The Professional Certificate Program in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique is a fully accredited, academically rigorous collegiate program. It is offered at the Salem College School of Music, one of America’s oldest members of the National Association of Schools of Music (1933). The Program was created by Barbara Lister-Sink whose dream was to help keyboardists hampered by physical/technical obstacles to overcome those impediments and to realize their full potential musically.  The Program was designed to address playing-related injuries—their causes and cures—that continue to plague musical keyboard players. It was also developed to educate serious students, performers and teachers about injury-preventive technique, both how to play with healthful technique and how to teach it.

At Salem College, the Certificate Program offers pianists, organists and harpsichordists (classical, popular and jazz genres) an opportunity to focus on understanding healthful technique from the ground up, to develop awareness and control of their bodies, to find accurate diagnoses of injuries with a musician-supportive healthcare team, to rehabilitate from those injuries, and to retrain out of injury and return to compelling music-making. It is scientifically informed and adheres to principles of good biomechanics and optimal body use at the instrument.

The courses in the Program were developed in 2003 and the Program itself has been offered since 2009. The types of musicians who have taken these core courses are:

  • piano and organ students during “gap” years between degrees who want to work on their technique

  • students with playing-related injuries who need to take a year off to rehabilitate and rebuild well-coordinated, injury-preventive technique

  • professional pianists and organists who are injured or technically impaired

  • teachers or college professors on sabbatical who wish to enhance their own technique and expand their ability to teach well-coordinated, injury-preventive technique

The courses are outlined in detail in the attached PDF, and include:

  • Biomechanics of Injury-Preventive, Well-Coordinated Keyboard Technique

  • Pedagogy of Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique

  • Musical Keyboardists’ Injuries – Causes & Cures

  • Alexander Technique

  • Applied Lessons (piano, organ and harpsichord)

Both on-site and hybrid/webcam formats may be used.


So far, over 30 pianists and organists, either professionals or students from major conservatories, and music departments have enrolled since 2009, including those from throughout the United States, Canada, England and Australia. The interaction among the various students and professionals is highly stimulating. Participants also enjoy the beauty of the Salem College campus in the middle of 18th century Old Salem, and the rich cultural life in arts-friendly Winston-Salem.

Scholarships are available through both Salem College and the Lister-Sink Foundation, Inc. Total tuition for all required courses is under $5000. Lodging and living is general in Winston-Salem are relatively inexpensive. Due to the intensive, hands-on, individualized nature of the training, the Program is limited to 10 participants per semester.

For injured keyboardists in need of diagnosis and treatment, in addition to retraining, a carefully selected team of health-care professionals (including orthopedists, neurologists, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, Alexander Technique instructors and complementary health practitioners) is particularly sympathetic to the myriad injuries and problems that plague musical keyboardists

For further information, please download the attached PDF brochure and curriculum, or go to the Salem College website.


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