Music students' health problems and health-promoting behaviours

Kreutz, G. and Ginsborg, J. and Williamon, A. (2008) Music students' health problems and health-promoting behaviours. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 23 (1). pp. 3-11. ISSN 0885-1158 (print) 1938-2766 (online)


The reported health problems of music performance students at two conservatoires in the UK were investigated, with specific attention to musculoskeletal and nonmusculoskeletal problems in relation to the students' instrumental specialty and their health-promoting behaviours. Students from the Royal Northern College of Music (n = 199) and the Royal College of Music (n = 74) were surveyed using server-based inventories over the internet. They provided 246 usable data sets for this study. Results reveal that musculoskeletal pain as well as nonmusculoskeletal problems were common among students, affecting about half of the sample, with similar patterns between groups of instruments. Regression analysis showed that musculoskeletal and nonmusculoskeletal symptoms reliably predicted perceived practice and performance quality, such that fewer symptoms predicted better quality; the strongest predictors were pain along the spine and fatigue. These results suggest that significant proportions of health problems among music performance students emerge from general dispositions, such as posture and fatigue, and thus are not specific to the instrument played. Healthy lifestyles appear not to affect perceived practice and performance quality.

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