BAPAM flying the flag stateside at PAMA 2019

July 30th, 2019

This report gives a small flavour of some of the highlights of a packed conference programme with content covering all forms of the arts and many of the conditions that performing artists suffer from. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from experts across the world, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, UK and USA who are researching and implementing best practice in performing arts health.

Apart from the chock-full official conference programme, there were several opportunities to network and lunch-breaks provided opportunities to attend special interest meetings such as the Research Committee, and a chance to discuss the needs of PAM research with a broad range of interested and enthusiastic colleagues. A research workshop also provided food for thought on improving the quality of PAM research to ensure optimum ‘performing artist-centric’ care.  Performers experience several health problems as a result of their work, and it is our task to develop solutions that work for, and are acceptable to performers.

Dr. Victor Dzau of the National Academy of Medicine, outlined the work being undertaken to prevent clinician burnout, and made the comparison with performing artists. Both professions aim to improve the lives of the public and both suffer health problems as a result. Dr. Dzau recommended bringing together stakeholders to collaborate on solutions to support the workforce.

One fascinating area of development in the USA is new research coming out of the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health, particularly in the application of complementary therapies to chronic pain. We heard now the opioid epidemic in the USA has resulted in opiods being the leading cause of death in under 50s. Often caused by over-prescription of painkillers, US policy makers and practitioners are seeking alternatives to manage pain. What this means is that significant randomised control trials are now being conducted which will give much better evidence on the use of complementary medicine as part of standard of care. This will be something to watch over the next few years.

Still on the theme of improving health, there were several presentations on techniques to prevent overuse injuries and in one of them renowned drummer Joe Corsello spoke about how his playing had been affected after performing for years and demonstrated techniques to avoid injury. We also heard several examples of how multidisciplinary teams of clinicians, therapists and educators had worked with patients to create holistic treatments to enable them to overcome injuries, including dystonias, enabling them to return to performing. It was humbling to hear from several elite performers whose own injuries had caused them to develop an academic career investigating and evidencing solutions to enable other performers to avoid similar problems in the future.

Dr Dan Bernadot, a nutritionist working with athletes outlined his approach to supporting performers to understand the importance of diet and hydration so that they have the energy to do what they need to do and how to manage this in the context of performance schedules.

In a series of moving presentations, we heard about the culture of bullying and harassment in some music conservatoires that had come out after the #metoo campaign and how one performing arts education provider was changing attitudes by bringing in policies to reduce the possibility of this happening by introducing regular training to all teaching staff; having glass doors on all teaching rooms; acting on all rumours  about suspect behavior and forbidding any student/teacher fraternization beyond the professional relationship.

A mental health panel, led by Dr Susan Raeburn, considered the mental health issues that particularly affected popular musicians and how these were exacerbated by life on tour. We heard about the personal experiences of artist Darren Hayes and the therapist Dr. Nancy Sobel who had worked with a number of top bands and soloists in the USA.

This in no way does justice to the many insightful presentations we heard over the four days and we’d like to thank Mike Shipley and Phillip Rudge for their financial support in enabling us to attend. We were excited to learn that the PAMA Committee has decided that the 40th conference in 2022 will hopefully take place in London and we look forward to supporting the development of an equally memorable event in the UK.

Written by Claire Cordeaux, Diane Widdison, Dr. Finola Ryan

Day dedicated to Performing Arts Medicine

July 30th, 2019

Attended by doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and a number of students
and professional performers, PAM day at UCL offered time for networking and discussions on the health and rehabilitation of performing artists. The day consisted of talks by experts in performance anxiety, hypermobility in dance, musical theatre performer rehabilitation, circus artists injuries and musicians’ clinical assessment. Delegates also got a chance to hear research studies from  MSc graduates of the course and have a workshop on musicians’ warm-up by our current MSc students.

BAPAM is closely involved with the MSc and our clinicians and registered practitioners are integral to the delivery of UCL’s Performing Arts Medicine MSc. Programme lead of the MSc and organiser of the PAM day Dr Hara Trouli is also an assessing clinician at BAPAM.

BAPAM also presented an update on current activities and plans for the future and several BAPAM practitioners also attended as part of their annual training scheme. PAM DAY offers 5 Learning hours on a UCL Certificate of Participation.

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services for Performing Artists: Guidance for the Performing Arts Sector

July 30th, 2019

Consultation Paper

BAPAM is pleased to have brought together a working group of clinicians and performing arts organisations interested in addressing challenges to the mental health and wellbeing of those who work in the sector. The group has produced guidance to support the development and delivery of services specifically for performing arts professionals and students. The guidance is designed to be used by:

• organisations commissioning or wishing to commission mental health services for performing artists

• organisations and practitioners providing mental health and wellbeing services for performing artists

• education providers offering mental health and wellbeing support to students

• individuals and agencies wishing to support best practice for performing artists

• performers and other performing arts professionals wishing to understand the standard of practice they can expect from services.

This guidance has been developed by BAPAM’s Psychosocial Working Group. We aim to make a real difference to the quality of services available. The purpose of the group is to provide a forum in which approaches to prevention, care and support can be discussed, and clinical leadership can be provided for developing and maintaining an evidence-based service designed to support performing arts professionals and students with vocation-related mental health issues. The group has drawn on the clinical evidence base, including National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, which contain reviews of published evidence for healthcare interventions from clinical and cost-effectiveness perspectives, to produce this guidance for the performing arts sector. There are seven key areas of focus:

1. Preventing Mental Health Problems
2. Early Clinical Assessment
3. Brief Intervention
4. Peer Support
5. Ensure Links with the NHS
6. Multi-disciplinary Team Approach
7. Managing a Crisis

We are publishing this paper for consultation and welcome all comments which will be considered prior to the final launch.

Read or download the paper here:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services for Performing Artists: Guidance for the Performing Arts Sector – A Consultation Paper

Comments can be posted via the online survey here:

The consultation is open until 15 September 2019.

Healthy Touring Checklist and Rider

July 22nd, 2019

Artists, crew, and management teams can use a Healthy Touring Checklist as part of planning for a tour and prepare a Health Rider to help people involved with the tour support artist and crew wellbeing.

Our Healthy Touring Checklist has been developed as a result of a review of the evidence, consultation with experts, and our evaluation of a series of Healthy Touring Workshops with artists awarded funding for touring by Help Musicians UK’s Do it Differently Fund.

We are working with Help Musicians UK to finalise this guidance for publication. We have made a working document available which you can download here: Healthy Touring Checklist and Rider

If you’d like to give us any feedback on this, suggestions for additional items for the checklist, or resources that can help, please email We’d love to hear from you.

Thanks to our original Healthy Touring Panel, our BAPAM trainers – Lucy Heyman, Dr Helen Brice and Dr Pippa Wheble – and Help Musicians UK.

Touring is a fundamental part of performance professions and, as much as it is exhilarating, it can also be intense and tiring. During this period health problems which are unmanaged can be exacerbated, and new health problems can arise. Evidence from research tells us that around 75% of performers have health problems. Like many athletes who use their bodies intensively, physical problems and pain are common and, as freelancers, performing arts professionals often have no choice other than to attempt to maintain their careers, continuing to work while suffering from and managing physical symptoms. These problems are exacerbated by, and contribute to, psychosocial issues. The touring environment (with pressures relating to travel, working late, lack of sleep and a poor diet) and the high demands artists and crew make on themselves can all lead, potentially, to deteriorating mental health. Schedules often mean that healthcare is not available when most needed.

All of these factors can impact on the success of performances, the longer-term sustainability of a career and the individuals themselves.

Being able to discuss our touring practices with someone was very valuable, it’s not often that you’re able to sit down and think about how you could improve these practices. It can feel very isolating at times so it was really good and constructive

We were able to reflect and see that the things which we found stressful and difficult about touring were actually an amalgamation of small things, most of which we could do something practical about improving.

Effective ways to warm up my vocals & easily incorporate the warm-ups to my usual pre-performance routine

Helpful strategies for coping with performance stress, work-life balance and general wellbeing

BAPAM resources used in PhD research on pain and discomfort in string players

July 16th, 2019

The International Journal of Music Education has published an article based on a PhD research which featured a BAPAM produced health resource.

The research looked at playing-related discomfort and pain among two groups of music students in a higher education establishment in Australia. The data was collected from 2007 till 2011 and students were given a copy of the BAPAM resource “Fit to Play” (which is currently being updated).

We spoke to researcher, Dr Megan Waters, who explained the reason behind the study was to gain a better understanding of the perceived impact of personal circumstances, past and present learning environments, and musical culture on the development of playing-related pain and injury among tertiary level string students.

The cohort included 29 participants and was made up of violinists, cellists and viola players. Results showed students consistently reported a high incidence of playing-related discomfort and pain which was contributed to factors related to studying music at the graduate level, orchestral rehearsals, practice, technique as well as non-playing-related activities.

The research suggested the need for educational institutions to adopt a range of preventative strategies to approach issues of playing-related pain and injury, which were recognised to be caused by multiple factors.

Musicians wanted for UCL masters research

July 2nd, 2019

Professional and amateur violinists and viola players are being sought for a study as part of a master’s thesis research project for the MSc Performing Arts Medicine programme at University College London.

The study by Sarah Lesjak will investigate how changes to the chin rest on violins and violas can affect a player’s performance.

Participants will need to be available to do a short interview in person, fill out a questionnaire and play a small piece of music before and after adjusting the chin rest.

Those wanting to take part will have to be at least 18 years old and play their instrument for a minimum of 3 hours per week.

If you or somebody you know is interested:

Contact and state – Project Interest – in the subject.

Contemporary Dance and Injury workshop

May 31st, 2019

A day dedicated to contemporary dance and injury management is taking place in the capital on 9th June. 

The event geared specifically for the dance community will take place at Core Clapton in East London. The workshops will be led by dance professionals, plus interactive demonstration on managing potential injuries common amongst dancers by one of the resident osteopaths at the centre.

For more information on the individual workshop leaders and how to book. Head to their website by clicking here

Musical theatre acts raise mental health awareness in the industry

May 24th, 2019

A group of singers who have featured in musicals in London and around the UK will be getting together for a special cabaret show to raise funds for BAPAM.

The aim of Music for the Mind – which takes place on Tuesday 4th June – is to help tackle mental health in the performing arts industry and help us in our work to support performers’ mental health.


Performers can see health professionals like GPs or a clinical psychologist for a free assessment for advice on mental health issues affecting them and their work.

The group of singers will be singing songs from pop to rock to soul to musical theatre.
The event starts at 7:30pm and takes place at SingEasy @ Pianoworks, West End, London, WC2H 7DH
Click here to find the list of full performers and to book tickets…

Fundraising concert for BAPAM featuring two Harpsichords

May 23rd, 2019

BAPAM relies heavily on the generosity of key funders for delivering specialised services to the performing arts community. We are also equally grateful for many individuals and local groups who also support us through fundraising at events such concerts and talks.

On Saturday 15th June at 5pm two eminent keyboard players David Hill and David Ponsford will be supporting BAPAM through a fundraising concert at a venue near the Cotswolds.

They will be playing a programme of J.S.Bach trio sonatas arranged for two harpsichords, which will include Sonatas 1,3,5 and 6.

The event has been generously organised by BAPAM’s Honorary Medical Director Dr Penny Wright and will take place at Syde Manor, Gloucestershire, GL53 9PN.

For more details/travel directions and to reserve a place, please email

Performing Arts Medicine (PAM) day 2019

May 21st, 2019

There’s less than a month to go until a one-day course providing an introduction to Performing Arts Medicine. The annual PAM day is aimed at health professionals, performers, those studying and working in health sciences and performance academies.

PAM day will be held on Saturday 15th June at Institute of Sports Exercise and Health in London. It is organised by those involved in the Performing Arts Medicine MSc at UCL which is run by the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science.

So, what can you expect from the day? Well experts closely involved in the sector – including several BAPAM practitioners – will be leading sessions on a wide range of topics from clinical assessment of musician’s injury to performance anxiety and hypermobility in dance.

The 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.

BAPAM is closely involved with the MSc and our clinicians and registered practitioners are integral to the delivery of UCL’s Performing Arts Medicine MSc. Programme lead of the MSc and organiser of the PAM day Dr Hara Trouli is also an assessing clinician at BAPAM.

Director Claire Cordeaux says, “we are delighted to have been involved with the MSc from the start and it is wonderful to see how it is developing. We are proud to support this programme by offering clinical observation opportunities and enormously grateful to the graduates who go on to work with us.”

BAPAM Registered Practitioners may count attendance at this event as one of their mandatory biennial Performing Arts Medicine Training Days. As this event is administered by UCL, tickets must be booked directly with UCL and discounts for BAPAM Practitioners are not available.  To book tickets click here