Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Investigating performance-related problems of young musicians

Lisa Britsch
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 20 Number 1: Page 40 (March 2005)

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Abstract: Many investigators have expressed concern about the paucity of research literature on the subject of younger musicians, particularly adolescents, and little is known about their performance-related injuries. This study was undertaken to explore this neglected area. Ninety-seven students in four youth orchestras in a midsized midwestern city were surveyed to examine the relationships between such factors as practice time and pain, to explore what students do when they experience pain while playing, and to determine whether students have been exposed to any injury prevention education. Few reported accepting the belief of playing through pain, while performance anxiety was reported at a higher-than-expected rate. The older students had more awareness of possible causes of playing-related pain and strategies for its elimination than did the younger students. The older students also discussed their pain with teachers more frequently than did the younger students. It appeared that those students who sought help from teachers for their performance-related problems received information that was beneficial in reducing or solving the problem. Two statistically significant relationships were found; one between amount of practice time and grade of pain reported in the youngest orchestra, and the other comparing females by age and grade of pain reported.

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