Profiling musicians’ health, wellbeing, and performance

Williamon, A. and Wasley, D. and Burt-Perkins, R. and Ginsborg, J. and Hildebrandt, W. (2009) Profiling musicians’ health, wellbeing, and performance. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2009, 15-18 December 2009, New Zealand.


This study profiles music students’ physical and mental fitness for performance. Participants were recruited from the Royal College of Music (RCM, n=59) and Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM, n=32), and standardized measures of health promoting behaviors, anxiety, perfectionism, cardiovascular fitness, and physical strength and flexibility were employed to assess students’ performance-related health and wellbeing. The resulting profile indicates that (1) students tend to fall outside of their target BMI, with more students falling below their target than above it, (2) cardiovascular fitness is most frequently below average or average, with under 40% of students achieving above average cardiovascular fitness, (3) student fatigue correlates variously with aspects of perfectionism, trait anxiety, health promotion, and self-regulated learning, and (4) pain that is reported to stop performance is most often linked to the upper arm/elbow, left and right hands, and the back. The value of such profiling exercises in educational contexts is discussed, with examples of implementation drawn from a UK conservatoire.

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