Music Education Liaison
NEUROMUSCULOSKELTAL HEALTH REPORT
I. A compilation should be made of epidemiological studies of neuromusculoskeletal, soft tissue, and auditory system injuries in various music education populations such as children and adolescents who play instruments and/or sing, instrumental music educators, vocal music educators, and so on. If such studies do not exist, then they need to be funded in order to justify the need for interdisciplinary studies in music education and performing arts medicine-therapy.
II. Music educators are in a position to research and develop body/mind compatible pedagogies and resources need to be found to aid them in doing so; venues for dissemination of this research need to be made available, either by existing journals or new ones. Professional music educations associations need to take an active role in this venture.
III. More work needs to be done in the development of ergonomically-designed instruments and accessories, especially for young people. For example, trombones are too large for many students that start them; chairs for young performing groups can still be improved upon. Instrument and equipment manufacturers need to be aware of musicians’ health needs.
I. Music educators, students, and parents (if students are K-12) need to be informed of the neuromusculoskeletal risks that musicmaking can present. According to research, the frequency of this type of injury is anywhere from 35 to 65% in the student population, and as high as 75% in the adult professional population. The introduction of this information needs to be optimized so that those involved in music are aware of risks but not deterred from participating by them.
II. There is need for more cross talk among pedagogues, music educators, and health professionals in this area. It seems that in research and practice, we are not always aware of and capitalizing on each others’ knowledge. For example, the research and writing of Paul Rolland, a very innovative and “body-aware” string pedagogue, is often not mentioned in medically-based writing on string players. We also need to be able to communicate across professional language barriers.