Musical Impact: Enhancing the Health and Well-being of Musicians is a four-year multi-institutional research project (2013-17) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This project is led by Conservatoires UK (CUK) which represents nine major UK conservatoires and involves scientists from Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University. Crucially, these centres of learning will work with professional musicians and their employers via the Musicians’ Union (MU) and the Association of British Orchestras (ABO), as well as health practitioners and researchers linked to the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and the International Health Humanities Network (IHHN).
The Musical Impact project aims to generate new knowledge of the physical and mental demands of music making, contribute new insights into chronic and acute health problems in musicians and monitor their impact over time, and examine effective strategies for health promotion. While musicians typically have a long history of self-sufficiency in managing the challenges of performing, this project aspires to complement musicians' own ingenuity by providing comprehensive, evidence-led resources to help maximise their educational and professional opportunities.
The Musical Impact project has three core strands of research:
1. Fit to Perform: A longitudinal study of musicians’ physical and mental fitness for performance
Investigates the incidence and extent of injuries and ill-health among musicians working in Britain, as well as the physical, psychological, environmental and musical factors that determine musicians’ health and wellbeing.
2. Making Music: The physical and mental demands of practising and performing
Studies the physical and mental demands of music making and training using cutting edge physiological monitoring equipment.
3. Better Practice: Health promotion in music education and the profession
Examines current approaches to promoting health, adapting, applying and evaluating them across music educational and professional contexts.
Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is responsible for the second of these three research strands, namely the investigation of the physical and mental demands of practising and performing. Dr. Emma Redding, Head of Dance Science, is leading a diverse team of researchers with expertise in the fields of clinical medicine, neuroscience, anatomy, psychology, dance science, physiotherapy, musical performance and music pedagogy. This unique interdisciplinary approach is crucial for the understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying the medical problems faced by musicians, enabling the cross-fertilisation of ideas required to devise innovative research designed to enhance the health and well-being of the practising and performing musician.
Additional information about the Musical Impact project
Fit to Perform
Aaron Williamon, Principle Investigator, Royal College of Music
Helen Reid, Guildhall School
David Wasley, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Emma Redding, Principle Investigator, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Alan Watson, Cardiff University
Jane Ginsborg, Principle Investigator, Royal Northern College of Music
Stephen Broad, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Advisors to the Musical Impact project:
Howard Bird, Project Evaluator
Deborah Charnock, BAPAM
Paul Crawford, University of Nottingham
Keith Motson, Association of British Orchestras
John White, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Diane Widdison, Musicians’ Union
Trinity Laban is a partner of:
Contact Dance Science
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