Musician’s Health Awareness

Ackermann, Bronwen, and Tim Driscoll. “Attitudes and Practices of Parents of Teenage Musicians to Health Issues Related to Playing an Instrument: A Pilot Study.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 28 (March 2013): 24-27.

Parents of music students age 12-17 at two metropolitan high schools, one academically selective and the other specialized in music, were surveyed. Parents from both schools recognized the importance of health and good body use in music performance. Parents at the music school accepted that instrument induced pain was normal while parents at the academic school disagreed.

Barrowcliffe, Kelly Dawn. “The Knowledge of Playing-Related Injuries among University Music Teachers.” MS thesis, The University of Western Ontario, 1999.

Barrowcliffe surveyed music faculty members from three Canadian universities with the goal of ascertaining their general understanding of playing-related injuries. Included in the thesis is her research regarding musician injuries, the questionnaires used, cumulative data, discussion of findings. She concludes that music teachers who are educated about playing related injuries will be able to reduce the occurance of PRI, recognize contributing factors like gender, recognize symptoms early, and assist student experiencing PRI to manage their injury.

Brandfonbrener, Alice G. “Medical Help for Muscians: A New Specialty.” The Instrumentalist 41 (May 1987): 28-31.

Brandfonbrener voices the need for awareness of medical problems amongst musicians. She warns teachers to be careful to make careful recommendations to students since they are not medically trained and too accustomed to student’s habits to be objective, seeking physician help is best. She lists common injury triggers (recitals, auditions, repertoire and technique changes) and analyzes patient intake at her performing arts clinic.

Dawson, William. “Ask the Doctor: Health Education in Our Schools of Music.” The Double Reed 27, no. 4 (2004): 115-16.

The lack of health education of musicians in schools is highlighted in this article. Dawson relates that NASM has identified the need for health education in regards to performance injuries, but often it is not offered due to insufficient resources. He outlines the events of a conference hosted by the University of North Texas including health care professionals and representatives from 45 music schools. Double reed teachers are urged to discuss this topic with institution administrators.

Dawson, William. “Ask the Doctor: Medical Information for Double Reed Instrumentalists.” The Double Reed 20, no. 2 (1997): 85-90.

The very first installation of “Ask the Doctor.” Dawson calls to attention the importance of health awareness for double reed musicians with the intention helping instrumentalists identify physical problems before they become debilitating. Includes an extensive list of United States performing arts and specialty clinics.

Dawson, William. “Playing without Pain: Strategies for the Developing Instrumentalist.” Music Educators Journal 93 (November 2006): 36-41.

For music educators and parents looking to help their young music students experiencing pain when playing. Dr. Dawson addresses possible causes of pain due to overuse and technique, the most common problems found among young musicians, symptoms and diagnosis. He also gives useful modifications and tools to help relieve physical stress for students.

Gorman, Eugene S., and Carol A. Warfield. “Pain Syndromes in Musicians.” Hospital Practice 22 (February 1987): 68, 71.

Gorman and Warfield discuss the importance of physicians understanding occupational diseases specific to musicians and recommends prompt diagnosis and treatment for the best results. Vaguely touches on physical symptomatic evaluation, and possible musculoskeletal, soft tissue or neurological origins for pain or injury. Primarily written for medical physicians.

Mangan, Katherine S. “Medicine for Musicians.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 51 (October 15, 2004): A56.

Mangan writes about the many maladies that musicians can experience, sharing short stories of different musicians and their experiences. Her perspective is one of surprise that musicians experience so many injuries. Quotes from many professional musicians, including that while in sports “no pain, no gain” is a common philosophy, in music, pain means stop.

Meinke, William B. “A Proposed Standardized Medical History and Physical Form for Musicians.” Medical Problems of Performing Artists 10 (December 1995): 137-39.

Meinke proposes a standard medical history form to facilitate evaluation and treatment of musicians by medical practitioners. Especially useful for physicians who are not specialized in arts related disorders or for instrumentalists who would like to better communicate symptoms specific to their music profession with their doctor.

Thompson, Sam, and Aaron William. “Awareness and Incidence of Health Problems among Conservatoire Students.” Psychology of Music 34 (October 2006): 411-30.

A survey of the conservatoire students at the Royal College of Music in London gathering information regarding student’s awareness of physical and mental health problems from performing music. Pain from intensive practice and poor posture reported. The authors state the need for conservatoires and music institutions to provide an education on musician’s health and well-being as part of their professional development.

Trollinger, Valerie. “Performing Arts Medicine and Music Education: What Do We Really Need to Know?” Music Educators Journal 92 (November 2005):42-48.

Written for music educators to develop more awareness of performing arts medicine with the goal of helping minimalize the injuries among young students. Discusses music making’s effects on musculoskeletal functionality, special concerns for instrumentalists and resources for educators to become better informed on the topic.

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