Performing Arts Medicine (PAM) day

November 27th, 2018

It’s been a busy year for all things Performing Arts Medicine (PAM). Here’s a look back at one of the highlights of the year.

The annual PAM DAY 2018 was held at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health on 21st July and organised by the Department of Performing Arts Medicine at UCL. It was a chance for health professionals, stage performers, and students and staff in health sciences and academics to get acquainted with this area. The idea is that they learn about clinical assessments, recovery and rehabilitation specific to performers in music and dance, as well as performer health education and injury prevention.

Programme lead of the Msc at UCL is musckuloskeletal doctor Dr Hara Trouli, who’s also one of BAPAM’s assessing clinicians. Here she is talking about how the day went.

“PAM day was a successful event for BAPAM practitioners and all clinicians and performers who attended. A range of presentations in music and dance with two streams running all day gave attendees the opportunity to learn a variety of topics, to meet MSc graduates and tutors and to hear about their research projects. PAM DAY received great feedback and we are pleased to see the growing interest and participation in these events.”

The Performing Arts Medicine MSc at UCL is a unique programme providing specialised training to those interested or already involved in offering health services to this very special sector of instrumental musicians, singers, dancers, actors and other performing artists.

Applications for the next academic year in September 2019 is open and closes on 26th July 2019. Click here to find out more

BAPAM Performance Environment Day

November 6th, 2018

What would an ideal performance environment look like? Is such a thing even possible when we work in such widely different spaces? How do our environments affect our health, our creativity, our social relationships? What can healthcare professionals, technicians, artists, support organisations and communities do to both support performing arts wellbeing and facilitate excellence in artistic practice?

Our Performance Environment Day explores these topics, from a healthcare perspective and including the experiences of other professionals including artists, technicians, educators and people working in arts support roles, some with additional needs due to illness, injury, difference or disability

You can now read the full programme.

The event takes place at Resource for London on November 17, 9.30 – 17.00.

Tickets are available here.


Presentations and Discussion

The Performance Environment: Challenges in the Performing Arts Industry
Sophie Lane, Specialist Performing Arts and Sport Physiotherapist

Saving Your Ears for the Music!
Gladys Akinseye and Jordon Thompson, Clinical Audiologists and Hearing Therapists

Preparing for Challenging Performance Careers
Arran Peck, Athletic Development and Conditioning Coach, National Centre for Circus Arts

Cognitive Function of Adult Amateur Pianists
Dr Marie McKavanagh, GP, MSc Performing Arts Medicine Shipley Rudge Award Winner

Anxiety and Psychological Support for Theatre Productions and Artists
Dr Anna Colton, Chartered Clinical Psychologist

Panel Discussion/Q&A

Do our performance environments facilitate or obstruct artistic practice? How can the ways in which we design, manage, use and share space be a positive factor in healthy practice? Collective support in creative communities, accessibility and participation.

Kris Halpin, Musician/Producer
Robin Townley, CEO Association of British Theatre Technicians
Lisa Tregale, Head of BSO Participate, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Siân Willett, Co-creator of Wellbeing for the Arts

Dan Hayhurst, BAPAM Information Coordinator (Chair)

A nod to BAPAM’s work in October’s edition of Classical Music magazine

October 19th, 2018

A write-up about BAPAM concluded a series of articles on health and wellbeing in the prestigious music publication. Our charity was the focus of a two page spread and was described as the umbrella organisation which is the “go-to point” for performing artists suffering with medical issues.

If you’ve ever wanted to know all the services that BAPAM provides then this article pretty much covers it all. BAPAM’s Information Officer Dan Hayhurst was interviewed for the article.

Read the full article here

Listen to the experts on World Mental Health Day 2018

October 10th, 2018

At BAPAM we work with mental health specialists who have the knowledge and experience to help performing arts clients.

On 17th November, Clinical Psychologist Dr Anna Colton will be speaking at our training day about the Performance Environment, covering anxiety, how it affects performance, and how she works with adults and children in West End shows. You can listen to Anna discussing the challenges that arise for workers in this industry, her background and her wider work as a psychologist in our interview below, and you can book tickets for our Performance Environment Training Day here.


Do It Differently

October 9th, 2018

A brand new fund has been set up to support the careers of 20 independently-driven music creators by one of BAPAM’s major funders Help Musicians UK. The Do it Differently fund is being called the most comprehensive support for this group of performers yet.

Worth a total of £200,000, the UK wide initiative will be open to application from producers, composers, songwriters, musicians, DJs and others at any stage of their career. The fund is for solo artists, groups or ensembles of six members or less. It will assist with three aspects of their work, which includes their own wellbeing, but also business and creative development. Creatively, that could be songwriting, composition, recording, releasing and touring. Do It Differently will also provide the music makers with access to top business experts to advise on developing sustainable business plans.

BAPAM Director Claire Cordeaux said: “Keeping healthy is an essential part of sustaining a successful career in music and we’re delighted that HMUK is supporting this holistic approach to awards for music creators. We’ve had some top performers, tour managers and psychotherapists advising us on the healthy touring programme and look forward to working with the award winners.”

To apply click here to head to the HMUK website, applications can be made online in a written or video format.

Music promoter Skiddle chairs mental health panel

October 5th, 2018

BAPAM Director Claire Cordeaux was invited to be part of a panel at an event organised by music event promoter Skiddle. The panel discussion was titled mental health in the music industry and was organised off the back of a survey the promoter had conducted amongst professionals within the industry, looking at their mental health at work.

Other panelists included Christine Brown from Help Musicians UK and psychotherapist and former music producer and DJ Matt Cantor along with some other music promoters.

The survey found mental health problems were a big issue amongst this demographic. According to the survey 82 per cent of those working in the industry said they suffered stress, 67 per cent suffered from anxiety and 40 per cent from depression.

65 per cent of the promoters frequently felt an intense and an unmanageable level or pressure and almost 50 per cent said the music work often led to a constant level of anxiety and sadness.

Speaking on the panel Claire Cordeaux said, “Promoters don’t get the visibility that other groups get even though the survey shows that they experience similar sorts of issues. So the results aren’t that surprising as they are probably not getting the same sort of access to support that other parts of the industry are getting.”

Here’s the full discussion:

Rock and Pop Weekend 2018

September 25th, 2018

A who’s who of voice experts will be gathering at the British Voice Association’s weekend workshop in London for singers, vocal coaches and voice professionals this November.

Geared especially for the genres of rock and pop, a range of some serious big hitters from the industry will be present and imparting their wisdom. Some of the names include Mary Hammond and Kim Chandler some of the most well known vocal coaches in the business. The weekend kicks off with a workshop on the evening of Saturday 24th November at the Royal Academy of Music.

Then the following day will be very much multi-disciplinary in nature, with sessions led by prolific vocal coaches, as well as specialist medical health practitioners who treat voice professionals regularly. The venue for this session will be Cecil Sharp House. For more information and a look at the full programme click here..

Top tips for those considering a career in psychotherapy

September 20th, 2018

Psychotherapist and music industry consultant Tamsin Embleton of Embleton Psychotherapy shares some top tips for those considering a career in psychotherapy. It’s a guide Tamsin created following conversations with musicians and other professionals within the industry who had been considering a change in direction.

So what does Tamsin do?

She is an attachment-based psychoanalytic psychotherapist, meaning that she explores the quality and availability of a client’s first relationships and how these experiences influence the client’s sense of self and ability to form relationships in later life. She works with clients from all walks of life including the creative industries – and although they come to her with varying presenting issues, beliefs and perspectives – they all have common aims of seeking clarity, support and a deeper understanding of themselves.

So what does a potential therapist need to think about before starting training?

Tamsin says considering things like your underlying motives and how you feel being close to people in distress is important. Having overcome personal challenges and difficulties is a strength in the industry according to Tamsin, as it allows a would-be therapist to get closer to the client’s material and empathise on a deeper level.

There are currently two registration bodies in the UK, the BACP (British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists) and UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy). Various criteria need to be filled in order to be registered with either body, although UKCP registration is longer and requires more in-depth training.

How long does it take?

Training generally takes between three and five years and being accepted on to courses requires some pre-requisites like volunteering in a caring role or on a helpline, and in some cases the completion of a foundation certificate. Plus personal therapy is an important part of training which allows the potential therapist to work through their own material before beginning work with others.


Another important factor to keep in mind is self-care practices, as Tamsin stresses there is exposure to a lot of distress during training. She suggests budding therapists to develop sound self-care practices early on in training because they help in processing the emotions which arise when being around distressing situations and help to mitigate the likelihood of burn-out or vicarious traumatisation.

How much does it cost?

In terms of costs of re-training there are a few things to keep in mind according to Tamsin. The costs of the courses vary between £4000 and £7000 per annum, which doesn’t include personal therapy and can be between £30 – £80 depending on what is agreed with the therapist. Trainee therapists usually start working with clients around year 2 or 3 which is unpaid but may require supervision which will also incur a cost, although some supervisors offer low fees for trainees and some course providers offer supervision as part of their fee. There are Career Development Loans available as well but not all courses are compatible so worth checking.

And so although the training is expensive and challenging with constant self-evaluation, Tamsin says it’s a great privilege to be part of client’s healing journeys and thinks that there’s lots of personal and professional rewards of the career.

Surge in demand for backstage therapists due to pressures of social media

September 13th, 2018

The pressures of performing in today’s social media culture means more and more therapists are working backstage to support performers in need according to an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

BAPAM registered psychotherapist Helen Brice who is featured in the article, says she is getting more requests for her services due to the fear of a blunder going viral within moments.

She says the emergency sessions which she gets called out for involve calming exercises to reduce a performer’s anxiety. According to her other factors affecting performers at the moment includes a demand to tour frequently, falling incomes and the need to stand out in a hugely competitive industry.

Helen has worked for more than twenty years in the music business in the areas of performance, production, publishing, artist management and classical music. She says over the last couple years people have started to become aware that the mistakes they make may be spotted and commented about on online within seconds. This possibility is becoming the source of more anxiety and is adding to the pressure to always say the right thing and avoid any thing that may be deemed inappropriate.

Her work backstage involves supporting clients with breathing exercises, using low energy techniques or more dynamic work depending on what the client needs the most at that time. The kinds of people Helen has helped includes musicians on the orchestral circuit as well as pop and classical artists and more recently, grime artists.

BAPAM Training Day: The Performance Environment

September 11th, 2018

The countdown is on for BAPAM’s last Training Day of the year, which draws on experts from across the performing arts industry, medicine, education and research.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday 17th November in London and focuses on the Performance Environment. The multi-disciplinary day will include talks by expert speakers around topics like the risk involved in performance spaces and how to prevent injury or manage them if they do occur.

We’ll hear from a Chartered Clinical Psychologist who works with adult and child performers helping them with a range of issues, plus a Specialist Performing Arts and Sport Physiotherapist who leads the Environment and Lifestyle module for the Performing Arts Medicine MSc at UCL.

Other topics in the day range from the impact of intense rehearsals on those working in this industry, to the effect of busy performance schedules and touring on their well being. There will also be Clinical Audiologists from Musicians Hearing Services giving insights into how the performance environment can impact hearing, plus advice on various approaches to hearing protection.  The day will also feature a panel discussion around the varied experiences performers have of performing arts workspaces. In addition to the experts mentioned, other panellists include the head of the Association of British Theatre Technicians, as well as the coordinator of the world’s first ever disabled musician-led ensemble, Resound at Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

For more information click the link here.