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Musician's Medicine

The Freiburg Institute for Musician’s Medicine (FIM) at the Medical Center - University of Freiburg is one of just a few centers of its kind worldwide. We provide medical care and therapies for professional singers and musicians, hobby musicians, choir singers, and voice-dependent professions such as teachers and actors.

Our institute specializes in treating singers and teachers with voice and speech disorders and our particular field of expertise is phonosurgery. We treat instrumentalists suffering from musculoskeletal problems and chronic pain syndrome as well as patients suffering from hearing disorders. In addition, we offer psychological and psychosomatic therapies for patients suffering from work-related stress and have developed a specific concept to combat stage fright. Though we focus on medical care for professional musicians, our doors are open to patients from all walks of like seeking help.

Diagnostic & Treatment Services

We perform a thorough diagnostic assessment to determine the best treatment for each individual patient. Our diagnostics center is equipped with a digital videostroboscopy, a high speed glottography, and a posturography (a.k.a test of balance). We also conduct subjective and objective hearing tests like tone audiometry, speech audiometry, optoacoustic emission, etc. Once patients have undergone the appropriate diagnostic procedure, we discuss the results with them in detail.

In addition to technical examinations, our staff also takes the patient’s medical history whereby each person’s general well-being and personal circumstances are included in the diagnosis. We go so far as to have instrumentalists play their instrument or singers sing during the consultation. Patients are asked in advance to bring their preferred instrument and sheet music or use the pianos at our institute.

Our staff devises a therapeutic concept customized to each patient’s professional needs, whether it is artistic, musical, or voice dependent work. We have four medical specialists, a general practitioner, one breathing therapist, one speech therapist, one voice therapist, and one physiotherapist. Our diagnostics and therapies are interdisciplinary and we collaborate closely with other departments at the Medical Center – University of Freiburg.

Both co-directors at FIM (Prof. Dr. Claudia Spahn and Prof. Dr. Bernhard Richter) are professionally trained musicians and our entire staff has solid knowledge in the fields of music and musician’s medicine.

Consultation hours for instrumentalists take place in the presence of a doctor and a physiotherapist. This inter-disciplinary approach enables our medical personnel to observe playing techniques and discuss potential diagnoses. Provided the appropriate treatment is available at FIM in Freiburg, the patient can begin working with the physiotherapist immediately. The same procedure is followed during consultation hours for vocal diagnostics and phonosurgery and treatment with breathing therapists, voice therapists, and speech therapists can usually be carried out in Freiburg.

FIM has created a vast network of experienced medical specialists and therapists from numerous disciplines. Our network allows patients not living in or near Freiburg to receive excellent care closer to home.

Here is an overview of the therapies offered by FIM:

Voice therapy

  • Preventive consulting
  • Functional voice therapy
  • Medicine-aided voice therapy
  • Phonosurgery

Therapy for hearing disorders

  • Hearing protection in orchestras
  • Tinnitus

Musicians with musculoskeletal system problems

  • Physiotherapy
  • Individual therapy based on principles of Feldenkrais
  • Adaptive playing techniques
  • Spiraldynamik – an alternative movement therapy

Stage fright

  • Freiburg multimodal treatment concept
  • Behavior-oriented stage training
  • Mental techniques
  • Kinesics-oriented approaches (relaxation methods)
  • Private sessions based on the concept of depth psychology
  • Song and game based approaches and musical techniques
  • Preventive approaches for stage fright


  • Individual therapy based on the concept of depth psychology
  • Psychosomatic therapies for personal crises and burnout

Our physicians

  • Professor Dr. Claudia Spahn


  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Richter