Posts Tagged ‘Guitar’

BAPAM Training Day, May 21, Manchester

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

Saturday May 21, 09.30 – 16.30

Kraak – 11 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DB

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Click here to book your place now

Our Performing Arts Medicine Training Days are ideal for healthcare professionals and others engaged in performing arts welfare who want to develop their skills in this fascinating specialism.

Chantel McGregor, Guitar

The main theme of the forthcoming BAPAM Training Day is Guitar Playing.

This is a great opportunity to learn from peers, make connections and share unique insights. We’ll be joined by expert clinicians, researchers and professional guitarists to demonstrate playing and technique as well as join our Q&A panel.

The programme for the day is currently being finalised, but will include:

Morning session:

Dr Alan Watson, Reader in Anatomy, Cardiff University. Anatomy of the wrist, hand and fingers particularly in relation to guitar playing.

Virginia Whiteley, Physiotherapist, Leeds. Guitarists’ musculoskeletal problems and their treatment.

Dominique Royle, Physiotherapist, Cornwall. Self help strategies and injury prevention for guitarists.

Chantel McGregor, Rock guitarist. Practical demonstration of guitar playing and technique.

Afternoon session:

Closed session for BAPAM Clinicians (focus on Regional/AMABO doctors).

Parellel session –  Q&A with rock musicians on lifestyle issues.

Research presentations from students completing the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at UCL.

Tickets cost £120

BAPAM Registered Practitioners: £90
BAPAM colleagues and Assessing Clinicians: £50
UCL Performing Arts Medicine students: Free

Click here to book your place now

If you prefer to book your place offline, please call us on 020 7404 5888.

Event Report – State of Play 2013

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Event organiser, Ian MacDonald, reports on the State of Play – A study day for performers, healthcare practitioners, music teachers, manufacturers and modifiers of musical instruments,  23rd March 2013. 

This mini-conference was inspired by all the wonderful inventions, additions and props created by passionate musicians, teachers and practitioners to assist their performing. Though for some, the process of amending and/or adjusting ‘the musical interface’ (the instrument) is second nature – better facilitating them to do what they love – it strikes me that it is still generally considered a black art.

Where adapting the traditional instrument dimensions in a bespoke manner really comes into its own, is in helping youngsters play instruments without injury and in helping musicians recover from injury and accident. There is also amazing work being done with disabled children and adults at places like, creating guitars that have special vibrating panels for deaf people, cellos that are fixed and angled to make wheelchair approach possible, two-way zithers that have double docking space for two wheelchair users to sit at it etc.

Playing aids, props, straps, rests etc are of course of interest to clinicians and practitioners working with performers but often either practitioners don’t know specific items exist, or have seen products on the web but are not sure how they work in practice or indeed if they actually work safely as empirical evidence supporting the marketing claims is difficult to find.

State of Play delegates were a mixture of professional performers, conservatoire teachers, students, lecturers, researchers, healthcare professionals, musicians and a dancer. A number had suffered some form of nerve compression problem in the past so had a vested interest in the presenting subject. Across the board, feedback about the day was positive with particular pleasure from all in seeing a right-handed trumpet being taken apart by Dave Woodhead then reassembled for a left-handed player with cable ties in about 5 minutes; perfectly playable with no need for any new bits to be made. Dave explained to us that there is no limit to adjustments you can make to brass instruments. Materials can be changed for look, weight or to avoid allergic reaction. Crooks (U-shaped bits of the tubing) and the direction of tubing can be shaped and amended to suit hand size, arm length, neck length or to assist getting back to playing again post-trauma….in fact there is now a small plastic trombone on the market that is light and easier to control even if you are a small person of 6 or 7. And it sounds okay too!

Marcus Reynolds presented his invention, Stratos, demonstrating it with a nifty trombone solo. He has worked on the Stratos for many years, since a serious accident left him injured. The device is used to facilitate better lip, jaw and head posture for trombonist (and for all other brass instrumentalists) as well as to provide structural and stabilising support. It was great news to hear that he is now getting commissions from all over the country to reward him for the dedicated years, time, money and sheer genius of creation.

The afternoon gave us the duet of Nicole Wilson and Helena Wood, violinists with ENO Orchestra. All the delegates agreed that these two musicians could go on the road with a fantastic presentation covering their experience in the working environment, ergonomics, musicianship, technical expertise, knowledge of the great variety of available equipment (e.g. chin and neck rests, seating) and their extremely funny way of communicating all these ideas.

Guitar tutor, Paul Sogaard rounded off the day, expertly reviewing the different posture issues faced by the three main designs of guitar, acoustic, electric and bass. As a long time member of the BAPAM Directory of Performing Arts Medicine Practitioners, he focused on many of the ergonomic problems tackled by musicians, demonstrating the various adjustments to the guitar interface and discussing the eternal questions of what additional tools and equipment (if any) to use… Again, research into the long term health benefits of using foot stool, neck straps or ergoplay support is sparse.

Student Research Projects

The day also included representatives from the first year of the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine with presentations from Efthalia Palaiokastriti, Physiotherapist and guitarist (Investigating functional scoliosis in guitarists using different guitar support tools), Isabel Artigues Cano, Physiotherapist and flautist (Evaluating hypermobility of finger joints in flautists) and Dr Hara Trouli’s (Performance measures in pianists with clinical sympomatology in the upper limbs: a cross-sectional study using EMG, digital pianos recordings and video postural analysis).

The State of Play 2013 – Musical Instrument Day

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Saturday 23rd March

(Registration from 09:30)
Saturday 23rd March

The Old Refectory, Wilkins Building, Main Quadrangle, University College London WC1E 6BT

A study day for performers, healthcare practitioners, music teachers, manufacturers and modifiers of musical instruments

Enhancing performance and facilitating healthier practice

Bespoke instrument modifications and manufacturing technology

Investigating tools for musicians’ rehabilitation from injury

Configuring the musical interface for healthy performance

Musical instrument ergonomics 

Sessions focusing on brass, strings and guitar

Full Day £75 Half Day £40

BAPAM Practitioner £65

Students £50

To reserve your place please email and we’ll send you a booking form. 

More information: State of Play Instrument Day Programme

Photo: MFHiatt

Musical Instrument Appeal

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Photo: Paul J S

BAPAM needs new (old) toys! We’re putting out a request for donations of unwanted musical instruments – of any kind (though we don’t have room for a Wurlitzer) – Brass, Woodwind, Strings, Percussion. Even parts of instruments and broken instruments:

Chin rest without the instrument
Without mouthpieces
Damaged pads

We help musicians with medical problems caused by or affecting their playing. Our doctors need to see how musicians’ bodies work with their instruments, honing our expertise in instrument ergonomics, and our understanding of their composition and construction.

BAPAM has a key role in training medical practitioners through the Performing Arts Medicine MSc qualification at University College London.  Getting to grips with these occasionally obscure implements is an integral part of the MSc learning experience. We need Performing Arts Medicine specialists to know their autoharp from their euphonium.

Photo: Kaensu

So can you help us? Do you have old, unloved musical instruments taking up space in your life? Email and we’ll gratefully give them a new home.

York Guitar Festival Concert

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

One of the world’s leading exponents of the guitar, Gary Ryan, is performing at the York Guitar Festival and we’re delighted to announce that there will be a charity collection at the concert in aid of Jessie’s Fund and BAPAM.

A unique opportunity to hear this internationally renowned performer, the recital takes place at Queen Margaret’s School, Escrick, on Friday 29th June 2012 at 7.30pm in the School Chapel.

Tickets for the concert are FREE but must be reserved by contacting Mrs Lynsey Griggs on 01904 728 261 or by email:

More Information about the concert and the York Guitar Festival here.

A huge thank you to the organisers of the concert!

Tom Hunt’s Great London Swim

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Guitarist, Tom Hunt, will swim a mile across the Thames as part of the Great London Swim 2012 to raise money for BAPAM.

I developed a shoulder injury that temporarily ended my music career and stopped me from being able to play the guitar. It wasn’t until I discovered BAPAM a year later that I found specialists capable of helping me recover.

One of the pieces of advice I received from BAPAM’s physiotherapist was to stay active and keep in good shape. This is why I’ve decided to take part in the Great London Swim 2012.

Can you help support BAPAM by sponsoring Tom? It couldn’t be easier. Take a look at this JustGiving page to make a donation:

Thanks Tom!


Guitarists Research

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Guitarists, are you interested in taking part in research into guitar support tools and the curvature of your spine while playing?

Postgraduate UCL student, Efthalia Paleokastriti, is looking for classical and acoustic guitarists for her study.

Efthalia believes that guitarists taking part will benefit from the insights gained: “You will have the opportunity to test your guitar playing using different support tools and you may decide which is better for you. Moreover, you may be more informed about the “right” posture of the body while holding the guitar and about ergonomic playing”.

Efthalia explains the project and how you can get involved:

Dear Guitarist,

I am investigating functional scoliosis in guitarists using different guitar support tools.

This involves a temporary change of spinal curvature caused by a provocative factor – in this case, playing the guitar.

I am looking for guitarists to participate in the research project. Specifically, classical or acoustic guitarists (who use a footstool or ergo play guitar support equipment) and who are professionals or experienced guitar players (3 years or more).

The research includes:

  1. answering an anonymous questionnaire (questions about guitar playing habits/pain occurrence/use of guitar support tools).
  2. arrangement of a meeting in which we will take photos of your back while you hold the guitar and use guitar tools.

Participating in this research will be beneficial for you because you will learn more about ergonomic playing and you will try different guitar support equipment.

Participation is voluntary and you can leave the research at any time. If you agree to participate in the study, you will be given a detailed information sheet and a consent form. If you have any queries about our project do not hesitate to contact me.

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Please read the Information Sheet which includes a detailed description of the project.

And please complete and return the Anonymous Questionnaire – you can answer it even if you decide not to participate in the measurement part of the research.

Contact details: EFTHALIA PALAIOKASTRITI. Email:

Note: This research project is not being conducted by BAPAM. The project has official ethics approval from UCL (University College of London) and is covered by UCL’s  data protection protocol.

BAPAM Newsletter February 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Our current Newsletter is available to download in pdf format here:

BAPAM Newsletter February 2012


Alexander Technique for Musicians

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The Alexander Technique is a ‘self-help’ technique that can help musicians reduce unnecessary tension, improve posture and playing technique, and alleviate pain.

Jane Gregory brought our attention to the expanded section for musicians on her website. Jane teaches Alexander Technique to students and staff at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance. You’ll find two fascinating and useful articles (aimed at bass guitarists and drummers but applicable to all musicians), presenting easy, practical advice based on the Alexander Technique.

BAPAM’s Directory of Practitioners can help you find an Alexander Technique teacher in your area. Performing artists registered with BAPAM are eligible for reduced price sessions with many practitioners, including Jane Gregory.

Saturday Tuition Sessions at BAPAM

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

We are pleased to announce a series of monthly Saturday Tuition Sessions at BAPAM’s London HQ.

The sessions can help professional and student performers achieve the most from their performance, whilst causing the least damage. One to one Sessions will be held on a Saturday morning and include: Voice Coaching, Guitar Technique and Ergonomics, and Performance Bodywork.

BAPAM Saturday Sessions begin on 20th February 2010 with Charlotte Tomlinson (Performance Bodywork):

Charlotte Tomlinson BA Hons (Music) GSMD, BSc Bodywork Therapies

Cost: £45

To book a session with Charlotte please call BAPAM on 020 7404 8444 Mon-Fri 9am – 5pm

About Charlotte:

Charlotte experienced the beginnings of tendonitis when she was a post-graduate student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A whole year of lessons in the Alexander technique and many sessions with the legendary Jean Gibson, saved her from serious damage and woke her up to the importance of good body maintenance and healthy habits.  Alongside teaching and performing, she pursued her enthusiasm for bodywork taking courses in Yoga, Feldenkrais, Shiatsu, Ayurvedic massage as part of a BSc degree course at the University of Westminster, amongst others. Fifteen years of bodywork experience and over twenty years of piano teaching has given her the background knowledge and understanding of how to best help anyone, especially performing artists, look after themselves.

As a professional musician and teacher, Charlotte has taught piano at the Purcell School for eleven years, coached singers at the Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong, has been an official accompanist for the BBC Young Musician and the founder and director of Chamber Music International, a very successful annual summer course for chamber musicians and composers.

For Instrumentalists

It doesn’t matter what instrument you play, it is important to play with an efficient use of your body. An oboe player who has a tense left thumb holding the instrument can be encouraged to use only the muscles needed to perform that act, thereby letting go of tension that was blocking free playing. A bass player can discover that adjusting their stool by as little as an inch can free up their arms in a way that stops the nagging shoulder ache. It can be a small trigger which, when changed, can have such positive results.

For Pianists

As a pianist, you have the option of taking Performance Bodywork a natural step further. If you have a problem such as tendonitis, the sessions may develop into a form of ‘piano lesson’ so it is very important if you are a student that you ask your piano teachers permission. You would only need to play a piece at the beginning of the first session (there would be no emphasis on style and interpretation) and then the focus would go towards what is causing the problems and how to unlock those problems.

If you choose, you can have a series of sessions that will completely transform your technique, so that you learn to play with freedom and the piano starts to feel effortless and enjoyable. Charlotte’s approach to piano technique is very simple and is based on the principles of the Eastern Martial Arts, using power rather than force. She can see and hear within the first few minutes of seeing someone play where the main issues are – others can reveal themselves over time – and can help re-educate you in healthy piano playing habits.

For Singers

Your voice is a part of your body and you create your own instrument before you even start. The way you hold yourself physically and the way you think and feel has a direct impact on the sound you produce and how you are able to express yourself. The relationship between you and your voice can be a highly complex one and when problems arise they can sometimes be difficult to untangle. A simple adjustment of the way you hold your head can make a difference to your sound or it might be a case of going deeper and discovering how your thoughts and feelings are having an impact – the ‘inner game’ of performing.

Come with music that you are working on and be prepared to sing (and be accompanied at the piano!)

For Actors

With fear, nerves and anxiety you can carry an enormous amount of tension. Your stature can shorten and become restricted causing problems projecting physically. This affects both the voice and the body, and your overall presence on stage.

Performance Bodywork can help in a number of ways. You can be assessed both singing and speaking (singing can highlight hidden problems from a different perspective) and when acting the role you are currently working on.

Charlotte has worked with actors for the last twenty years, having spent much time working as a pianist and coach in music theatre and coaching actors through singing. She spent two years as a presenter for the classical music channel (RTHK) in Hong Kong and learned public speaking as a member of the Amsterdam Toastmasters Club. She has an innate understanding of how to use your voice in nerve filled situations both in front of the microphone and standing up in public.

For Dancers

Dancers speak through their body and their body needs to be finely tuned and in alignment in order to function efficiently and effectively. The pressures on professional dancers can take their toll physically, emotionally and psychologically.

Dancers are prone to injury because of the demands of the job. Performance Bodywork can help in the prevention of injuries by observing how the dancer operates away from the dance floor. It is easy to carry dancing habits into everyday life and this can cause problems. Learning good posture and alignment is essential and along with it, an ability to care for the body in the right way.

Please Note: BAPAM Saturday Sessions are not medical clinics. If you are concerned about a medical problem or injury affecting your performance you should make an appointment at either your own GP’s practice or a BAPAM clinic held by a doctor or physiotherapist.