Like other focused educational activities or pastimes, learning, performing and listening to music can produce possible negative health consequences when undertaken incorrectly or excessively. Music teachers need to be health conscious and to engage in prevention education with the students in their charge. Health promotion, as defined at the 1986 World Health Organization Conference and in the Ottawa Charter for Heath Promotion, must go beyond simply “delivering” instruction or “disseminating” information and must address issues that affect music students’ values, beliefs, and motivations. Working in collaboration with individuals and groups outside of music, music teachers can contribute to the development of injury-free musicians by informing and teaching health-conscious habits to music students.
Music teachers provide students with studio experiences, lessons, and performance opportunities designed to develop a wide range of knowledge and skill. Like teachers of any other subject, music teachers focus on the educational outcomes of their efforts. Music teachers guide students through educational interactions that involve and influence the well-being of students in three specific areas:
Music teachers are the primary channels for changing how music is taught and played. In the effort to reduce performance injuries and encourage good auditory, physical and emotional health in their students, music teachers need to become substantially involved in injury prevention by teaching health-conscious music-related practices to students.
As part of helping students develop knowledge and skills in music, music teachers should adopt the following practices:
Gail J. Berenson, NCTM, MTNA past president and noted expert on musician wellness issues, provides strategies and tips for coping with performance anxiety.
American Music Teacher has published
multiple articles regarding musician wellness since the year 2000,
including the recent series "Playing Healthy, Staying Healthy." Click here for an annotated list of wellness related articles.
COVD is the primary national organization for developmental eye doctors who are trained in the testing of visual skills of focusing and eye movements. They are willing and able to take the time to listen to patients about specific lens needs for musicians and can provide more testing than the typical eye health and 20/20 testing. This site includes a doctor locator feature.
Optometrists Network is a long-established website that explains different visual diagnoses in plain language for the public to read. It also has a doctor locator feature that may return some different results than COVD does.
Athletes And The Arts
MTNA works with Athletes and the Arts to promote musician wellness. Sports Wellness expert Randall Dick has issued a call to action. He also addressed attendees at the 2014 MTNA Annual Meeting via video.
Linda Cockey, NCTM, presented a session on wellness at the 2015 National Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read her Wellness Resources for the Musician here.
Mind The Gap just published an infographic on the need to protect your hearing from noises. Click here.