Awareness and incidence of health problems among conservatoire students

Williamon, A. and Thompson, S. (2006) Awareness and incidence of health problems among conservatoire students. Psychology of Music, 34 (4). pp. 411-430. ISSN 0305-7356 (print) 1741-3087 (online)


A survey of conservatoire students is reported in which information was gathered regarding their awareness and incidence of physical and mental health problems resulting from performing music, as well as places and/or people they would turn to for advice in the event of a future problem. Pain and discomfort relating to posture and excessive practising were reported to be frequent, as was performance anxiety. Students showed a significant inclination to go first to their instrumental teacher for advice about health and psychological problems, before appropriate medical practitioners. These results are discussed in the light of previous research. In addition, a curriculum initiative is described in which a series of seminars have been presented to first-year students at the Royal College of Music with the intention of broadening their awareness of the health issues associated with performing professionally and of the places where they could seek professional help.

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