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Screening and profiling for musicians and dancers

This collaborative project was undertaken by a team of colleagues across Trinity Laban to develop an interdisciplinary screening and profiling programme. A small amount of funding was provided by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF) to initiate this project. The aim was to profile and screen music and dance vocational students at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance at varying times during their training programmes and determine effective methodologies for doing so. The project was an interdisciplinary investigation of the physiological, biomechanical and psychological characteristics of musicians and dancers. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were employed and the extent to which these factors correlate and interact was explored.

The purpose of screening is to identify potential problems at an early stage, and to develop prevention and/or rehabilitation strategies for individuals. Profiling gathers descriptive information about the status of a performing artist and/or to observe changes to their status across time. Trinity Laban was one of the first dance training institutions to pilot comprehensive screening within its undergraduate programme and is currently perceived as espousing the leading dance screening model through its pioneering methodology and unique dance-specific expertise.

This project had a descriptive and longitudinal design, involving approximately 180 dance and music students. Both validated and standardised tests were used, as well development of new ways to assess some of the performance determinants that are not currently possible to assess through existing tests.

The overarching objectives of the investigation were to:

  • Examine physiological, biomechanical and psychological profiles of music and dance students;
  • Observe changes in baseline profiles across time, thereby determining the effect of the current training on these profiles;
  • Determine the interactive relationship between biomechanical, physiological and psychological factors relevant to dance and music performance and better understand the ‘whole’ dancer and ‘whole’ musician;
  • Empower students to feel responsible for their own training and development;
  • Show through scientific research the need for educational modules and electives within music and dance vocational training that address issues on health;
  • Develop new screening tests that assess dance and music specific performance parameters.
  • Identify issues for consideration in future development of training pedagogies in music and dance sources to continue research.

Further in formation on Screening for Dancers can be found here.