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Work. 1996;6(1):11-24. doi: 10.3233/WOR-1996-6103.

Physical and mental practices of music students as they relate to the occurrence of music-related injuries.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, 635 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this study was two-fold: To obtain descriptive information regarding general physical and mental habits of music students and to ascertain if there are any associations between specific daily activities or habits and the appearances of these injuries.

STUDY DESIGN:

Questionnaires were distributed to three hundred music students at Boston University. Of the 45 respondents, 19 students were willing to participate in an interview. Descriptive statistics were analyzed and comparisons were made to a similar study which was conducted at New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts (Hagglund, K., Unpublished study, 1994).

RESULTS:

The results suggest that Boston University music students follow expected trends reported in previous research (Fishbein and Middlestadt, 1988; Manchester and Fielder, 1991; Hagglund, 1994). Eighty two percent (n=37) of the respondents were performance majors and the majority of them began playing their instrument at age 10. Out of the 45 respondents, 28 were female of whom 68% (n=19) reported having a music-related injury. Of the remaining 17 males, 53% (n=9) reported also having a music-related injury. Sophomores and juniors accounted for 15 (54%) of the total 28 musicians with injuries in this study. The typical practice habits that were described by the respondents included 2 h sessions, with 10-15 min breaks each hour. Most musicians disclosed to occasionally playing their instruments even when experiencing pain. RESULTS from this study suggest that as the hours spent playing increased, so did the incidence of injury. Medical attention from neurologists, general practitioners, performing arts specialists and laryngologists was pursued by 18 (64%) of the 28 injured musicians. Sixty-one percent of the respondents with injuries saw more than one rehabilitation specialists, including physical therapists (50%); Alexander/Feldenkrais teachers (44%) and massage therapists (28%). More than one treatment method was given to 74% of the injured. These treatment methods included methods such as: Altering posture, habits or playing technique, exercise and stretching, rest, ice and massage. Satisfaction in career and the ability to live up to self expectations was high, while performance anxiety was not bothersome for 82% of the respondents. Fifty-two percent reported reacting well to stress and 44% described having an average level of self-consciousness. Most respondents (89%) participated in some type of physical fitness, most exercising either one (30%) or three (23%) days a week, and 75% reported that they stretch prior to playing.

CONCLUSION:

This study provides information on the general habits of music studtents which can be beneficial to rehabilitation specialists, as well as other medical professionals treating musicians. By understanding the lifestyles and dynamics of being a musician, rehabilitation specialists can devise better individualized intervention and preventative strategies. Unfortunately, musicians remain uninformed on the current treatments, rehabilitation approaches, and most importantly the predisposing and preventative factors of music-related injuries. Occupational therapists, physical therapists and other rehabilitation specialists can and should be the professionals to provide guidance to the population of musicians on the above mentioned factors.

KEYWORDS:

Ailments in artists; Overuse syndrome; Performing artists; Psychosocial occupational performance components

PMID:
24441426
DOI:
10.3233/WOR-1996-6103

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