Archive for the ‘Student Advocate Scheme’ Category

Event Report – British Psychological Society Annual Conference

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Naomi Norton, BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Manager and postgraduate RNCM student, attended the British Psychological Society Annual Conference to give presentations on health promotion and student health in universities. Further information can be read here:

Investigating the Health of Musicians Studying at University

Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates

BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Poster

You can also contact Naomi directly for further information:

BAPAM was pleased to support Naomi’s attendance at the conference through our Research and Education Bursary Fund.

British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Harrogate International Centre

9th – 11th April 2013

The British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference was held at the Harrogate International Centre this year, just up the road from my home town of Leeds. Having attended the conference as a poster presenter last year I plucked up the courage to enter myself again this year and was rewarded with both a poster presentation and an oral presentation; more on that later. One of the most interesting aspects of the BPS conference is the diversity of topics and delegates; this year was no exception with presentations either in the general category or relating to the three key conference themes:

The typical and atypical mind across the lifespan

Education, ethics and professional practice dilemmas in psychology

The nature and diversity of social cohesion and attachment

Peter Banister, the BPS President for 2012-13, welcomed delegates from the UK and beyond and extended the appropriate thanks to all involved in organising and supporting the conference. He also introduced the delegates to some of Harrogate and the North Riding of Yorkshire’s history, including the shocking (but not proven) news that Yorkshire Pudding may not actually have originated in Yorkshire! The conference boasted 5 high profile keynote presentations, hundreds of delegates, oral and poster presentations, workshops, and symposiums, a student members’ stream, awards ceremonies, film screening and discussion opportunities, networking (always a favourite), exhibitions and social events around Harrogate.

Professor Peter Fonagy kick-started the conference with an insight into modern psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory and the impact that research can have on practice through initiatives such as the Children and Young People’s project. In addition to introducing this project he also outlined some fascinating research regarding pedagogy and teacher effectiveness; the key ingredients for effectiveness that he highlighted (awareness of learning intentions, knowing when a student is successful, understanding the students’ understanding, knowing enough about lesson content, and retaining passion that reflects the thrills and frustration of learning) are something that teachers of all varieties could learn from. The other keynote presentations comprised a useful update on working memory and the effect it can have on children’s learning (Professor Susan Gathercole), an amusing insight into our social groups from Professor Robin Dunbar entitled ‘Why Facebook won’t get you any more friends’, a revisit of some of the classic psychological studies that we thought we all knew about (Professor Alex Haslam) and an exploration of research and learning ethics from Dr Karen Kitchener.

The sports and exercise psychologists were once again well represented and I duly trotted along to most of their presentations to fly the musical flag and explore whether there really are similarities between performing artists and athletes. The most enjoyable exercise related session was led by Dr Dance (aka Dr Peter Lovatt) who runs the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Dance introduced us to some of the research that takes place at the lab including how dance helps you solve problems, how to dance to attract a mate and how physical symmetry affects our dancing. This presentation included live demonstrations and a lot of audience involvement… a great example of how to engage your audience and the perfect way to round off the day and get us in the mood for the evenings’ entertainment! However the presentation that got me nodding along the most and marveling at the parallels between musicians and dancers was Jessica Brainch’s (Cardiff Metropolitan University) presentation entitled ‘Stressors, Appraisals and Coping during Injury Onset: A Qualitative Study’. Having already had an interesting chat with Jessica regarding my poster presentation and the similarities between musicians and athletes it was great to hear about her research and gather some ideas from the sporting world for how we could understand and support injured musicians and reduce the impact of performance-related problems on lifestyle and wellbeing.

My poster outlining research that supports the BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme was well received and sparked interest in musicians’ performance-related difficulties and how the musical world is working to prevent and manage them. My oral presentation that followed immediately after the poster session (imagine me running from one end of conference venue to the other) was entitled Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates. I had been grouped with three other presentations relating to health and wellbeing which resulted in an open-minded and receptive audience; much appreciated for my first major conference presentation. Despite shivering under the air conditioning (on the plus side it disguised the nervous shakes; refer to BAPAM performance anxiety specialist!) I greatly enjoyed the presenting experience and look forward being able to disseminate my research findings at future conferences. It was gratifying and encouraging to be approached by a number of sports and exercise psychologists following my poster and oral presentation; to many psychologists at this conference, music psychology (in particular research regarding musicians’ health and wellbeing) seems to be relatively unheard of. However the interest and understanding that was shown bodes well for the future.

BAPAM Enhancing Performance Workshop, University of Leeds

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Katherine Lambeth, BAPAM Student Advocate at the University of Leeds Music School, reports on the Enhancing Performance Workshop which she organised at the Music School on 4th November 2012. Sessions were led by Professor Howard Bird (Rheumatologist and BAPAM Clinician), Virginia Whiteley (Physiotherapist) and Alison Loram (Alexander Technique Teacher).

Event Summary

The workshop was comprised of four sessions; I have provided a short summary about each session below along with number of attendees. In addition to these sessions I made the students aware of the Musicians Benevolent Fund Student Health Scheme and provided flyers about both this and BAPAM.

Introduction to Soft Tissue Massage: presented by Virginia Whiteley with 18 attendees

This session involved students pairing up and being taught how to find pressure points and knots in common areas of discomfort for musicians.  We were also taught how to massage these points once found and what to feel for in order to identify problem zones.

Introduction to Pilates: presented by Virginia Whiteley with 20 attendees

Each student was provided with various pieces of equipment and some of the basics of Pilates were introduced, including an explanation of how it can help musicians to prevent injury.  We were taught the basic standing positions and what to feel for, followed by a few exercises to help specific areas of the body.

Alexander Technique Presentation: presented by Alison Loram with 16 attendees

Alison presented a talk on the Alexander Technique that explained the origins of and theory behind the discipline.  She also discussed her current research into Musicians’ Health problems, particularly in violinists and violists.

RSI Presentation: presented by Howard Bird with 9 attendees

In this presentation Howard discussed what RSI involves, its most common forms and how it may be caused.

Feedback Form ‘Results’

The feedback forms asked students to comment on five areas of interest:

–  Overall impression of the day with general comments

–  Why they attended

–  Improvements on the sessions/organisation of the day

–  Anything new they’d like to see in the future

–  Would they attend another day

Responses to the first and last areas were unanimous with every student answering that they had greatly enjoyed the workshop day and that they would attend another.  The more practical ‘hands-on’ sessions generated a lot of positive responses with a quarter of respondents stating that it was specifically for this that they would attend again.  Over half of the students answered that they attended the workshop as they already had health problems that they want to deal with.  Just under half had a general interest in the activities, with some people attending for specific sessions, hence the changing numbers between sessions.  It was commented on that the variety of topics covered was appealing.

The students were very forthcoming with ideas for future workshops.  The most common responses were that they wanted more activity-based sessions, and fewer run as lectures.  Over 80% of students specified that they now wanted to have an active Alexander Technique session to get an idea of how the discipline works physically.  Multiple attendees commented that they would like to have sessions focussed on either specific parts of the body or specific instruments/instrument groups.  Several also wrote that they would like to learn about good practice and attend a one to one clinic.

In terms of logistical arrangements the day ran relatively smoothly.  Were the event to happen again, which it hopefully will, I would advise the following:

–  Ensure room bookings are made well in advance

–  Find out in advance if the main entrance to the department will be open or not

–  Provide Guest Speakers with maps of the University so they can find Music

–  Check that the projector/ any equipment required works before the day itself

Action on Feedback

In response to the feedback provided after the Workshop Day I have set up, or made enquiries about, several sessions for the new semester.  We have scheduled in the next Health Clinic already, where students can take their instrument to be seen one to one by the practitioner.  I have begun discussions with Alison Loram about running an active Alexander Technique session and have also written to Andrew Roberts (woodwind) and Ian MacDonald (BAPAM Vocal Health Advisor and Voice Coach) about running instrument specific workshops with students.  Dr Jonathan White (BAPAM Clinician) has agreed to present on healthy exam practice before the final performance exams of the year begin and I am working on getting in touch with a specialist in Performance Anxiety.  Although this was not written in the feedback from this day, I know that it affects a great number of students and will be beneficial to them as much as the aforementioned sessions will be.

Research and Education Bursary Fund

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

We are pleased to announce the launch of our Research and Education Bursary Fund. The fund has been created to promote our research networks and knowledge base through support to clinicians and practitioners attending research conferences relevant to research and practice in Performing Arts Medicine.

Clinicians and practitioners listed on BAPAM’s Directory, as well as students involved with our healthcare programmes (e.g. Performing Arts Medicine MSc) are welcome to bid to the fund for a contribution towards their expenses (registration, travel, accommodation).

Our first bursary recipients are Jennie Morton, who will attend the Performing Arts Medicine Association meeting in Toronto to present on Healthy Practice for Musicians, and Naomi Norton, presenting on the Student Advocate Scheme and her Master’s research project Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates at the British Psychological Society conference in Harrogate in April. Look out for reports from both of those events in the near future.

Payments are made retrospectively and must be supported by:

  1. An expenses claim form and valid receipt for the agreed amount.
  2. A brief written report for this News blog or our Journal (planned for 2013) with content specifically relating to a scientific finding and/or best practice recommendation arising from the conference or a copy of an abstract or speech if making a presentation.
  3. Details of Performing Arts Medicine contacts and institutions for our database and Research Links Web page.

We would also expect you to promote BAPAM and take a range of BAPAM materials for distribution to colleagues and delegates.

There is no formal application process – just contact Deborah Charnock, BAPAM Interim CEO, at

Student Advocate Scheme

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Health Promotion in Universities

Leeds University music student, Naomi Norton, approached us in 2011 with her idea to maximise student performers’ chances of preventing performance-related health problems and gaining access to medical advice when needed. The Advocate is a student volunteer who, with support from BAPAM and university staff, acts as a co-ordinator working to mainstream healthy practice and facilitate access to resources. In Leeds over the past 2 years, some of the main benefits have been:

  1. Increased access to BAPAM clinical expertise for students with performance related health problems.
  2. Guest lectures and workshops on healthy performance, injury prevention, ‘first aid for musicians’ etc, given by performers, expert doctors, physiotherapists, Alexander Technique and Pilates teachers.
  3. Raised awareness of the Musicians Benevolent Fund Student Health Scheme
  4. Distribution of BAPAM health resources at ensemble rehearsals and in fresher packs.
  5. Health posters displayed in every practice room in the department.

Check here for more information via the Leeds University Union Music Society. We’re currently working on implementing the scheme at Birmingham Conservatoire, and during 2013 we’ll be looking at ways to expand it in more universities.

BAPAM Newsletter December 2012

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Our December 2012 newsletter is now available in pdf format here: BAPAM Newsletter December 2012

Our mission, giving free medical advice to performers, promoting healthy performing arts practice and education and fostering excellence among specialist Performing Arts Medicine health practitioners, has certainly kept us busy. This newsletter covers:

  1. Student Advocate Scheme – Health promotion in universities
  2. MSc / Diploma in Performing Arts Medicine update – Performing Arts Medicine at UCL
  3. Musical Athletes, PAMA and PAMI – Events in 2012
  4. Personnel changes at BAPAM
  5. Funding update
  6. Performer involvement
  7. Fundraising

Read the full newsletter here.