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Playing-Related Health Problems Among Instrumental Music Students at a University in Malaysia

Karen Lonsdale, Ong Kuan Boon
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 31 Number 3: Page 151 (September 2016)

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Abstract: Musicians from a wide range of backgrounds experience playing-related health problems including musculoskeletal disorders, hearing loss, and performance anxiety. Few studies have focused specifically on the health concerns of musicians in Malaysia. AIMS: This study aimed to investigate playing-related health problems among student musicians at a university in Malaysia as well as their knowledge and awareness of playing-related health problems. METHODS: Instrumental music students enrolled in undergraduate and post-graduate university music courses (n=98) participated in a self-report online survey which addressed aspects such as educational background, playing experience, knowledge and awareness of musicians¿ health issues, history of physical problems, lifestyle factors, and prevention and management strategies. RESULTS: Of the total participants, 28.9% reported that they were currently experiencing playing-related pain in a body part, and 46.4% had experienced playing-related pain at some time. More than half (56.7%) felt that they have not received enough information or advice on playing-related health during their current studies. Musicians who experienced playing-related pain, tension, and discomfort reported the main problem sites to be the fingers and hands, arms, neck, and shoulders. CONCLUSIONS: The study results demonstrate that Malaysian university music students are affected by similar types of playing-related physical problems as their counterparts around the world. A greater awareness and knowledge of injury prevention and management strategies is needed so that these music students can sustain healthy playing careers.

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