Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

NHS Specialist Voice Clinics Vocal Rehabilitation Coach Pilot

Friday, May 10th, 2019

BAPAM is excited to announce the start of a new pilot project, in which we are funding a Vocal Rehabilitation Coach (VRC) to work alongside clinicians in NHS Professional Voice User Clinics.

Vocal health problems in singers and actors are often multifactorial, requiring a specialised multi-disciplinary approach to diagnosis, in order to get patients onto the right pathways of treatment and rehabilitation and back to performing as quickly as possible. Over the last two years, we have been working with a group of clinical experts in this area, including Laryngologists and Voice-specialist Speech and Language Therapists, who have advised us that adding a Vocal Coach into this team – an experienced singing teacher with understanding of the clinical processes in vocal health – would further help the diagnosis and rehabilitation of performer patients. Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust already employ a Vocal Rehabilitation Coach and BAPAM has agreed to fund a VRC post across up to three NHS hospitals for a pilot year, with funding support from PPL, Help Musicians UK, Musicians’ Union and Equity, following which the pilot will be independently evaluated to assess the requirements for the VRC role and the effectiveness of this model in the care of performers. Dane Chalfin, an experienced VRC and singing teacher, is taking on the role for the initial 12 months’ pilot. The first of these BAPAM-funded clinics has just started at Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is expecting to start to offer this additional service from September, and a third NHS Trust is expected to be confirmed soon.

BAPAM undertook a survey across existing specialist Voice Clinics in order to develop the competencies required to work in this new role and these were reviewed and approved by our Vocal Health clinical experts and adopted by the BAPAM Medical Committee. There is currently no professional body able to provide formal registration of VRCs and BAPAM hopes that by facilitating a process whereby experienced vocal coaches can demonstrate that they meet a set of competencies, we can help provide a level of confidence in this role both to the NHS and to performers themselves, and reassure our funders that we are investing in the best services. Four practitioners who meet these competencies have so far been approved to join a new section of the BAPAM Directory of Practitioners as VRCs, and we are hoping to expand this number in the near future. We can provide guidance to practitioners interested in this field towards appropriate training that may be required to meet our competences.

We hope that this pilot will provide some initial evidence to support the involvement of practitioners with an educational background in the rehabilitation of performers and, specifically, the wider adoption of this practice to improve patient care in vocal health. If the pilot is successful, we hope to be able to secure funding to support substantive VRC appointments going forward via an open appointments process. This work takes place against a backdrop of developing education and science in vocal health, with practitioners at the UCL Performing Arts Medicine MSc and the MA in Vocal Pedagogy at the University of Wales undertaking exciting new studies which are increasing our understanding in this area of performing arts health. BAPAM is pleased to be able to make this small contribution to continuing improvement in vocal health for performers.

Further enquiries are welcome via info@bapam.org.uk

Related information:

BAPAM VRC Competencies

The Relationship Between Occupational Demands and Well-Being of Performing Artists: A Systematic Review

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Simone Willis,  a Performance Science researcher at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has shared with us this recently published paper on the relationship between occupational stress and well-being in performing artists. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate and synthesise data arising from 20 previous studies. The article is open access and can be read here in Frontiers of Psychology.

The review highlights the need for more high quality research on the relationship between occupational stress and well-being.

 

Alexander Technique Research Update

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

If you’re interested in the ergonomics of musicianship then you may remember a previous post where we featured the research of Alison Loram. Alison is a violinist and BAPAM-registered Alexander Technique teacher working with performers. Alison is also a research scientist in the field of musicians health (and biodiversity in domestic gardens), and has published a number of papers.

Exploring the premise that musicians are subject to a wide range of medical and performance-related problems due to physical and psychological demands, Alison’s thesis for her masters in Performing Arts Medicine, which is now published and open access, looked into chronic profession-limiting problems in musicians: Underlying mechanisms and neuroplastic routes to recovery

A related presentation considers the scientific basis of the Alexander Technique, and presents results of experimental research into Alexander teaching methodology: Explaining the Alexander Technique to clinicians and scientists: Psycho-physical re-education – an introduction to cognitive-motor system-level causes of performance-related problems.

Research: The Wellbeing of Musicians Across the Lifespan

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Musicians sometimes spend a lot of time looking at what is wrong, which can give more energy to challenges and create a downward spiral. Positive psychology is influenced by the idea that in spending more time focusing on what’s right, we allow ourselves to consider what it looks like to do well, which can in turn lead to a more positive physical/mental/emotional outworking.

Marie El-Khazen is a researcher inviting musicians aged 60+ to take part in interviews which will help develop knowledge and understanding of musicians’ perception of wellbeing as a performer, throughout a lifelong professional career.

If you’d like to help with this study you need to be aged 60+, having earned the majority of your full time income from employment as a performing musician. Interviews lasting 60 – 90 minutes will be conducted face to face, or via Skype, and will be recorded (on a dictaphone). Participants will remain anonymous. To take part or to find out more, please contact Marie directly by emailing U1620023@uel.ac.uk. You can also find here a detailed participant invitation letter.

This research has been approved by the School of Psychology Research Ethics Committee, and follows the standard of research ethics set by the British Psychological Society.

International Symposium in Performance Science, Reykjavik

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

The MSc in Performing Arts Medicine and BAPAM were well represented this month at the International Symposium in Performance Science (ISPS) in Reykjavik, Iceland, with research papers by Dr Trish Halliwell, Dr Philippa Whebble, Dr Farrah Jawad, Dr Hara Trouli, osteopath Tommi Sliiden and physiotherapists Kari Arnason, Lindsay Wallace and Krzystoff Dabrowski. Projects on flautists’ injuries, breathing relaxation for singers, vitamin D levels in dancers, health issues of popular musicians, lung function when singing and dancing, muscle injuries in string players, footwear and dancers’ injuries, and palmaris longus in pianists were received with great interest by the conference delegates. It is important to see such a group on the international arena of Performing Arts Medicine and we hope this will encourage more researchers to bring their work to this level. Congratulations to all involved!

Research: A Survey of Musicians’ Perceived Readiness for the Profession

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Are you an adult musician who graduated from conservatoire 5 years ago or less? If so, researcher, Ellis Pecen would be interested to hear your opinions in a short anonymous online survey about how prepared you feel for the profession. You will be asked to rate yourself on several skills and how important you find them.

Ellis, a graduate from the Royal College of Music and currently a PhD candidate at the University of Central Lancashire, is researching recent music graduates’ perceived readiness for the profession.

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete.  It has been approved by the UClan Research Ethics Committee for Business, Arts, Humanities, and Social Science (BAHSS).

Click here to complete the anonymous survey

If you have any further questions about the research, feel free to contact Ellis by email: epecen@uclan.ac.uk

Thank you for considering participating in this research.

Health Education in the Arts Survey

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Researcher, Lisa Brachfeld, from the MSc Performing Arts Medicine programme at University College London, invites musicians, dancers, actors, and singers who are professionals or students/teachers at accredited conservatoires to participate in a new study of health education in the performing arts. The aim is to prove that performers could benefit from more health and injury prevention education. Learning about attitudes towards this subject will help to improve the effectiveness of education curriculums.

Take the survey here

Alison Loram Muscle Function Research Published

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Alison Loram is a BAPAM-registered Alexander Technique teacher with expertise in the technique’s application to performance and practice, and ergonomics of instrumental playing/singing. She is a graduate of UCL’s Performing Arts Medicine MSc, violinist and research scientist. Her current research work investigates muscle function and motor control, and strategies of changing habits associated with chronic pain, injury and performance limitation.

The first of the papers directly associated with this research has recently been published, and is open-access. You can read the paper here:

Proactive selective inhibition targeted at the neck muscles: this proximal constraint facilitates learning and regulates global control.

Other articles explaining and verifying the techniques used in the experiments and analysis have also been published. For example, the use of ultrasound imaging to determine the change in neck muscle activity was completely novel and so the method had to be set out, explained and the analyses processes, not just of the data but of the images themselves, had to be documented, peer-reviewed and published.

The technical paper Real-Time Ultrasound Segmentation, Analysis and Visualisation of Deep Cervical Muscle Structure is also open access.

Research Published into Ballet Dancers’ Experiences of Injury and Osteopathy

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Osteopath, Toby Pollard-Smith, has published his research into Professional ballet dancers’ experience of injury and osteopathic treatment in the UK  in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies. BAPAM helped recruit participants for the project, which Toby undertook while training to be an osteopath.

Toby’s previous career as a professional ballet dancer contributed to his interest and expertise in treating dance injuries, and we were recently pleased to welcome him to our Directory of Practitioners. Toby, who is also a keen trumpet player, treats dancers, musicians and other performing artists in Ascot and Marlow. Find Toby Pollard-Smith on the BAPAM Directory.

Research: Vocal Health Awareness in Singing Students and Teachers

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Dr Anneliese Sayes is a medical doctor and researcher at the Royal College of Music who is investigating the current knowledge levels of vocal anatomy, physiology and pathology in singing students (within the conservatoire and university systems) and singing teachers.

She is inviting participants to fill in a questionnaire (that should take around 10-15 minutes to complete). There is a separate questionnaire for students and teachers. Full information about the study, which has research ethics approval from Conservatoires UK, is also provided. The survey can be accessed online via the following links:

Vocal Awareness questionnaire for student singers

Vocal Awareness questionnaire for singing teachers