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The lived experience of professional musicians with playing-related injuries: a phenomenological inquiry

Christine A. Guptill
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 26 Number 2: Page 84 (June 2011)

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experience of professional instrumental musicians who have experienced playing-related injuries. The study used a hermeneutic phenomenological methodology developed to examine this lived experience. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 professional musicians, followed by a focus group where preliminary findings were presented to participants and their feedback was sought. Other sources of lived experience included participant-observation by the researcher, who is a musician and has experienced injuries, and biographic and artistic representations of musical performance and its loss, including literature, films, and television. The findings were summarized in a visual representation unique to this study. The representation illustrates three roles--musician, worker, and teacher--that are participated in, and disrupted by, the experience of being injured. In addition, the experience of a playing-related injury takes place within the context of a healthcare system which was perceived as insufficient to meet their needs: specialized care was rarely available and, if available, was not local or timely; treatment operated on a fee-for-service model when many musicians had meagre incomes and lacked coverage for these services; and treatment provided often failed to allow musicians to continue to perform at the level they had previously achieved. Finally, the representation illustrated four existentials--lived time, space, body and social relations--that permeated the experience. This study suggests that improvements to healthcare delivery and education of musicians, music teachers, and healthcare professionals are needed.

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