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Current surveys ask for musicians' opinion on bullying and injuries

The Sensible Flutist: Current surveys ask for musicians' opinion on bullying and injuries

Monday, September 17, 2012

Current surveys ask for musicians' opinion on bullying and injuries

The injury rate for musicians is estimated to be somewhere around 75 percent (google "musician injury rate" and a wealth of information appears for you to research this yourself). This is a huge and very scary number. For any number of reasons, some musicians speak publicly about their injuries with colleagues and students while others remain silent.

I'm one of the injured, and I'm not afraid to talk about it. I'm also not afraid to talk about the other issues that commonly plague musicians like performance anxiety and gnawing periods of self doubt. It's a part of being human. With performing arts medicine and somatic disciplines such as Alexander Technique and Body Mapping helping performers return to their instruments pain and injury free, why are we still so secretive? Why does it seem that most musicians discover this information on their own when they need answers?

Performing arts medicine is a field that all musicians should make themselves familiar with. Injury is a deeply personal thing that can humiliate the musician especially if it seems that no one else around them can relate. With adequate awareness and education, music students should feel comfortable enough to discuss issues with their teachers so that accommodations can be made. Just like an athlete eases up on their training if they pull a muscle, musicians should listen to their bodies and ease up if something feels wrong. A support network of trusted individuals can help make this process easier.

There are two surveys currently making their rounds on the internet. The first is a study on bullying in the arts and contains sections regarding injury and asks musicians about their comfort level in discussing them. I'm very interested in seeing the results of this survey and I encourage you to complete it for yourself. You can find the survey here. It is being conducted by Robin Kish, MS, MFA.

The second is a more informal survey entitled The Healthy Musician. The nice thing about this survey is you can instantly see poll results. This website was created by someone named Molly. The survey seems legitimate and while I'm not sure what will be done with the data collected on this site, the ability to see instant poll results is catering to a present need and can help musicians feel less alone.

Take a look at the surveys, and I encourage you to contribute. These are two safe ways of sharing your opinions and experiences which will benefit us all.

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