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Risk Factors for Piano-related Pain among College Students

Eri Yoshimura, Pamela Mia Paul, Cyriel Aerts, Kris Chesky
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 21 Number 3: Page 118 (September 2006)

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Abstract: Although pianists commonly report pain and musculoskeletal problems from playing, the related research literature on this topic is limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between pain and several independent playing-related and anthropometric variables. Subjects included 35 piano majors attending a large college of music. Subjects were assessed with a questionnaire, bilateral anthropometric measurements of the upper arm and hand, and upper-extremity performance tests for range of motion, isometric strength, and rotation speed. Finger mobility, including active digit-to-digit span, was assessed using digital photography. Four questions regarding pain associated with piano were treated as dependent variables and used for correlation and regression analyses with other variables. A five-factor model emerged and each model was statistically significant. In addition to accounting for a large amount of variance associated with the dependent variables, results highlighted the importance of right 3¿4 span (flexibility/ mobility). This specific risk factor is rarely mentioned in the performing arts medicine literature. Additional studies are highly warranted for replication and for determining the clinical and pedagogical relevance of this finding.

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