Posts Tagged ‘Musical Instruments’

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 www.joyofsound.net, 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

10:00-17:00
(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 admin@bapam.org.uk and we’ll send you a booking form. 

More information: State of Play Instrument Day Programme

Photo: MFHiatt

Musicians Health Day

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Honorary Lecturers for the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine, Jennie Morton and Ian MacDonald, have organised this practical day for educators and health professionals involved in the care of musicians, to be held at UCL on 15th December 2012 (please note: this is an independent training event and is not organised by BAPAM).

Musicians Health Day 2012

Saturday 15th December 2012

10:00am – 5.00pm

University College London

Wilkins Haldane Room, Gower Street, London. WC1E 6BT

The day will include:

A comprehensive overview of orchestral instruments

Common injuries in musicians

Practical assessment of the instrumental musician

Instrument ergonomics and adaptations

Healthy practise advice

7 hours CPD

Course Fee: £95 (Students £75)

Course Tutors:

Jennie Morton BSc (Hons) Osteopathy

UCL Honorary Lecturer for the MSc in Performing Arts Medicine

Osteopath & Lecturer for The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine

Ian MacDonald MSc (Vocal Pathology); Dip RCM; ARCM; ALCM

UCL Course Tutor and Honorary Lecturer for MSc in Performing Arts Medicine

Voice Pathologist and Rehabilitation Specialist for The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine

Guest Lecturer Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music in Health Promotion & Professional Development

For further info or to request a booking form, please email jennie@jenniemorton.co.uk

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:

Unwanted
Old
Broken
Stringless
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 Ian.Macdonald@bapam.org.uk and we’ll gratefully give them a new home.