Pointing to performance ability: examining hypermobility and proprioception in musicians

Clark, T. and Holmes, P. and Feeley, G. and Redding, E. (2013) Pointing to performance ability: examining hypermobility and proprioception in musicians. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, 23-31 August 2013, Austria.


People have varying levels of hypermobility and proprioception that are held to be interrelated. This study sought to investigate hypermobility and proprioception in vocational-level musicians, comparing different instrument groups and examining variables that might account for these differences. Demographic information, handedness, musical background and training, injury history, joint hypermobility, and proprioception were collected from 28 music performance students. The participants had a mean hypermobility score of 2.14 (SD=2.45) with the men exhibiting less hypermobility than the women. While not significant, all instrument groups demonstrated clear differences in proprioception between the left and right hands. For the strings, harps, and pianists, these findings appear indicative of the mechanics of sound production. No significant findings emerged when examining the impact of hypermobility, training, or previous injury on proprioception. The findings support the use of the Leeds Hand Proprioceptometer as a valid means of assessing musicians’ finger proprioception and suggest that, in highly trained musicians, the instrument played does influence proprioception.

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