Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

Creativity, Music and the Brain

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

What is the role of music in UK society? What happens to our brains when we listen to music? Can music help to heal the brain in physical and mental disorders? What does the musician’s brain teach us about neuroplasticity? What can we learn from a composer such as Chopin and from modern composers and musicians? 

Creativity, music and the brain: The power of music over the mind is the Royal Society of Medicine’s AGM and annual dinner, held on Tuesday 13 May 2014

Early bird tickets are now on sale here, where you can also find all the details of this fascinating event.

Jane Oakland, Music Psychologist

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Welcome to the BAPAM Directory, Dr Jane Oakland, a psychologist specialising in musicians and performance. Jane has also been a professional opera singer for 35 years. Through her own experience of debilitating performance anxiety Jane became interested in the impact of stress on the careers of professional musicians.

 

Jane’s excellent website, www.stresspoints.co.uk, provides a wealth of useful information on the psychology of performance,  as well as articles she has contributed to Classical Music Magazine, the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and Help Musicians UK (formerly the Musicians Benevolent Fund).

Event Report: Performers in their Environment Training Day

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Our November 2013 event brought together actors and musicians with professionals working in performing arts healthcare, education and support and welfare, for a stimulating investigation into the work, lifestyle and health realities of the industry.

Professor of Performance Science, Aaron Williamon, discussed musicians’ hearing and the tricky issue of noise regulations for workers for whom noise is their product.

Philip Turner, Senior Stage Manager of the English National Opera, shared valuable expertise and insights into the considerations of caring for performers, crew, and audience, and in supervising the work environment, both at the ENO in London, and on touring productions. Osteopath, Jennie Morton, presented on workplace hazards, drawing from her work as a performer (dance/theatre/singing).

Former professional oboist turned pioneering Performance Coach, Karen O’Connor, was joined by a singer and a double bassist to discuss novel applications of sport psychology for managing performance anxiety and developing mental toughness.

We also heard from professional performers about the ups and downs of their careers. Jungle Drummer, Chris Polglase, talked us through his career, from leaving music school in frustration at course requirements that he learn endless indie rock parts, to turning a hobby into a sustained professional career playing 180bpm drum & bass beats, alongside turntablists and musicians from a diverse spectrum of styles. Chris talked about the pressures of extensive touring, playing 5am gigs at clubs and festivals, studio sessions, and gradually learning self confidence and how to care for yourself.

Bringing a fascinating day to a close, David Sulkin, Chief Executive of the Musicians Benevolent Fund, interviewed two actors at very different stages of their careers – covering the stresses (physical, emotional and financial) and rewards of the profession.

We’d like to thank all the speakers, performers and attendees.  All agreed that first hand discussion with performing arts professionals proved especially valuable in providing perspective for those who seek to help care for their health and welfare. Thanks also to the Musicians’ Union for so generously providing the venue.

More information about our Training Days can be found here: BAPAM Training Days.

Dance Psychology Conference

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Beyond the body: Psychological tools for performance enhancement and wellbeing in dance

This event has been organised by Dance UK and the Royal Society of Medicine in response to calls from leading dance professionals for more support and information about performers’ psychological health. It will examine the psychological issues facing dancers and the dance sector, as well as the psychological skills needed to thrive.

Learn how and why mental training improves performance. Understand how perfectionism and injury can affect performance and well-being. Explore the psychology of career transition. Discover how to apply theory in practice in both dance environments and health contexts. Network with fellow dancers, teachers, managers and support staff.

Take a look here for more info: Dance UK Psychology Conference Flyer

DATE: Friday 29 November 2013

TIME: 9:30am – 9pm

VENUE: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TB

TICKETS: £30 – £200

Book at www.rsm.ac.uk/academ/ree03.php or call 020 7713 0730 for further information.

Research: How Musicians Experience Forms of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Call for Participants: 

 

Ellis Pecen is a Masters student in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music, interested in exploring how musicians experience forms of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). To do this, a short anonymous online survey has been developed that should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. In this survey you will be asked anonymous questions about your musical background and your experiences with CBT. The research has received ethical approval from the Conservatoires UK Research Ethics Committee.

Who can take part?

The recruitment criteria for taking part are:

1. That you are a musician (or former musician) with experiences with CBT. You can be a student, professional or a musician who plays as part of a hobby, regardless of age or experience.

2. That you are undergoing or have undergone CBT treatment. There are many approaches to CBT and many forms of delivery (e.g. private/group counselling, computerized CBT, CBT via self-help methods etc.). All forms are valid for the purposes of this research, yet in order to ensure a consistent definition of CBT we are interested in interventions that adhere to the following characteristics:

i. CBT is based on the theory that our thoughts determine our feelings and behaviour and that, therefore, changing the way we think allows us to change the way we feel and behave.

ii. CBT is problem-focused and goal-oriented. The emphasis is on the ‘now’ and the future rather than the past.

iii. CBT requires active participation from clients in the form of homework assignments designed to apply the acquired skills from the sessions to real-life situations.

iv. Clients are educated about their symptoms and are made aware of strategies to enable positive change

How do I take part?

If you feel that you meet the above criteria and would like to complete the anonymous survey, please follow this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GHVPSZX

If you have any further questions about the research, feel free to contact Ellis at ellis.pecen@rcm.ac.uk

Thank you for taking the time to read through this information and considering participating in the research. You help is most appreciated!

 

One Day Conference on Creative Arts and Mental Health

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

BAPAM psychologist, Dr Carol Chapman, and CEO, Deborah Charnock will be attending this forthcoming conference on the intersections between Creative Arts and Mental Health, organised by Mental Healthcare studies in the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, part of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry:

http://www.mental-health-studies.org.uk/index.php/events

Work in these fields currently takes place within single disciplines (such as Art Therapy, Music Therapy and Applied Theatre); the main objective of the conference is to bring these and related disciplines together to explore a variety of issues common to both subjects, including: the relationship between creativity and mental health; the arts as a means of changing perceptions and provoking discussion around mental health issues; art as therapy, recovery and resilience; the arts and the representation of mental health in the public sphere.

Research into Musicians’ Approaches to Musical Practice

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Emese Hruska, a PhD researcher at the University of Roehampton, is recruiting London based musicians to help her look at musicians’ attitudes and experiences towards their musical practice.

This current project is part of her PhD research, and it involves interviewing  musicians regarding their experiences and views about their musicianship , their musical and individual identity. Interviews will take about 1 hour, and can be arranged at a suitable location chosen by the participating musician to express his/her thoughts and feelings freely. Participants must be based in London.

Emese’s long term goal is that the findings will contribute to developments in preventing and/or managing problems related to music performance anxiety and perfectionism in musicians. On completion of the project, Emese intends to equip musicians with adaptable empowerment strategies for strength, persistence, positivity, autonomy etc.

If you are interested in taking part, please contact Emese directly by email: hruskae@roehampton.ac.uk

This project has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee at the University of Roehampton.

The results of the project will be shared with BAPAM, and we’ll report back at a future date.

 

Event Report – British Psychological Society Annual Conference

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Naomi Norton, BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Manager and postgraduate RNCM student, attended the British Psychological Society Annual Conference to give presentations on health promotion and student health in universities. Further information can be read here:

Investigating the Health of Musicians Studying at University

Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates

BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme Poster

You can also contact Naomi directly for further information: naomi.norton@bapam.org.uk

BAPAM was pleased to support Naomi’s attendance at the conference through our Research and Education Bursary Fund.

British Psychological Society Annual Conference, Harrogate International Centre

9th – 11th April 2013

The British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference was held at the Harrogate International Centre this year, just up the road from my home town of Leeds. Having attended the conference as a poster presenter last year I plucked up the courage to enter myself again this year and was rewarded with both a poster presentation and an oral presentation; more on that later. One of the most interesting aspects of the BPS conference is the diversity of topics and delegates; this year was no exception with presentations either in the general category or relating to the three key conference themes:

The typical and atypical mind across the lifespan

Education, ethics and professional practice dilemmas in psychology

The nature and diversity of social cohesion and attachment

Peter Banister, the BPS President for 2012-13, welcomed delegates from the UK and beyond and extended the appropriate thanks to all involved in organising and supporting the conference. He also introduced the delegates to some of Harrogate and the North Riding of Yorkshire’s history, including the shocking (but not proven) news that Yorkshire Pudding may not actually have originated in Yorkshire! The conference boasted 5 high profile keynote presentations, hundreds of delegates, oral and poster presentations, workshops, and symposiums, a student members’ stream, awards ceremonies, film screening and discussion opportunities, networking (always a favourite), exhibitions and social events around Harrogate.

Professor Peter Fonagy kick-started the conference with an insight into modern psychoanalysis and psychodynamic theory and the impact that research can have on practice through initiatives such as the Children and Young People’s project. In addition to introducing this project he also outlined some fascinating research regarding pedagogy and teacher effectiveness; the key ingredients for effectiveness that he highlighted (awareness of learning intentions, knowing when a student is successful, understanding the students’ understanding, knowing enough about lesson content, and retaining passion that reflects the thrills and frustration of learning) are something that teachers of all varieties could learn from. The other keynote presentations comprised a useful update on working memory and the effect it can have on children’s learning (Professor Susan Gathercole), an amusing insight into our social groups from Professor Robin Dunbar entitled ‘Why Facebook won’t get you any more friends’, a revisit of some of the classic psychological studies that we thought we all knew about (Professor Alex Haslam) and an exploration of research and learning ethics from Dr Karen Kitchener.

The sports and exercise psychologists were once again well represented and I duly trotted along to most of their presentations to fly the musical flag and explore whether there really are similarities between performing artists and athletes. The most enjoyable exercise related session was led by Dr Dance (aka Dr Peter Lovatt) who runs the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire. Dr Dance introduced us to some of the research that takes place at the lab including how dance helps you solve problems, how to dance to attract a mate and how physical symmetry affects our dancing. This presentation included live demonstrations and a lot of audience involvement… a great example of how to engage your audience and the perfect way to round off the day and get us in the mood for the evenings’ entertainment! However the presentation that got me nodding along the most and marveling at the parallels between musicians and dancers was Jessica Brainch’s (Cardiff Metropolitan University) presentation entitled ‘Stressors, Appraisals and Coping during Injury Onset: A Qualitative Study’. Having already had an interesting chat with Jessica regarding my poster presentation and the similarities between musicians and athletes it was great to hear about her research and gather some ideas from the sporting world for how we could understand and support injured musicians and reduce the impact of performance-related problems on lifestyle and wellbeing.

My poster outlining research that supports the BAPAM Student Advocate Scheme was well received and sparked interest in musicians’ performance-related difficulties and how the musical world is working to prevent and manage them. My oral presentation that followed immediately after the poster session (imagine me running from one end of conference venue to the other) was entitled Instrumental and Vocal Teachers as Health Promotion Advocates. I had been grouped with three other presentations relating to health and wellbeing which resulted in an open-minded and receptive audience; much appreciated for my first major conference presentation. Despite shivering under the air conditioning (on the plus side it disguised the nervous shakes; refer to BAPAM performance anxiety specialist!) I greatly enjoyed the presenting experience and look forward being able to disseminate my research findings at future conferences. It was gratifying and encouraging to be approached by a number of sports and exercise psychologists following my poster and oral presentation; to many psychologists at this conference, music psychology (in particular research regarding musicians’ health and wellbeing) seems to be relatively unheard of. However the interest and understanding that was shown bodes well for the future.

Event Report – When The Artist’s Body Says No: Stress and the Mind-Body Unity in Health and Disease

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Jennie Morton reports from the recent PAMA event held in Toronto, 16th/17th February 2013.

Jennie’s attendance at the event was supported by BAPAM through our Research and Education Bursury Fund.

WHEN THE ARTIST’S BODY SAYS NO: Stress and the Mind-Body Unity in Health and Disease

by

Jennie Morton BSc (Hons) Osteopathy
UCL Honorary Lecturer, MSc Performing Arts Medicine

I recently attended the PAMA regional meeting at the beautiful Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada, hosted by PAMA President, Dr John Chong. This was a two-day event packed with a variety of speakers presenting on a wide range of health-related topics from the world of dance and music. The first presenter was Gary Galbraith from Case Western Reserve University who took us through his “Dancer/ Musician Wellness Project”, a wonderfully comprehensive software package providing health screening for both student and professional performers. This software enables teachers and health professionals to make targeted pre-training or pre-season recommendations for individual performers and to monitor training/ performing exposure and track injury rates. They are offering the package free to training establishments and dance companies worldwide.

Another highlight was Laurel Trainor, PhD a Professor of Psychology, whose research has shown that infants as young as 4 months old can tell the difference between dissonance and consonance and will already show a preference for consonance at this age – fascinating! She has also shown that the brains of music students mature differently to those not studying music suggesting that music has a profound effect on brain wiring. This has far-reaching implications for the study of neurological development.

The keynote speech was delivered by the wonderful Dr Gabor Maté, author of the book “When The Body Says No” for which the conference was named. He spoke about the mento-emotional aspects of disease making particular reference to the high-stress environments encountered by performers and the role this can play in their health. He read a particularly moving excerpt from his book concerning the life of the great cellist Jacqueline Du Pré and her battle and subsequent death aged 28 from the effects of multiple sclerosis. While still a teenager, she had apparently confided to her sister that she knew that being a professional cellist would kill her because of the pressures of high expectations of others – a poignant premonition and one to be borne in mind by those involved in the care and training of young prodigies.

We were also very fortunate to hear from some industry icons who shared their experiences of injury in an extremely candid and moving panel discussion. They included the acclaimed contemporary dancer Peggy Baker, Grammy-nominated saxophonist Jane Bunnett and Stephen Sitarski, renowned violinist and Concert Master of the Hamilton Philharmonic. Their frank and highly emotional accounts of their journeys with injury and depression tugged at the heart-strings of the entire audience and really served to highlight the often-hidden agonies behind the mask of performance.

I was also fortunate enough to have been invited to present a workshop on the musician/ instrument interface and was joined by a 16 year-old violin student, who is something of a child prodigy, to act as my model. We were treated to her extraordinarily talented playing whilst I made recommendations for postural adjustments – a fun, interactive hour! On the final day, I was also a member of a panel discussion on wellness strategies for student dancers and musicians, the panel being comprised of three health professionals and three teachers. We discussed the need for a multi-disciplinary approach in supporting the health of students and ensuring open lines of communication between health practitioners and teachers.

This two-day event as packed with excellent ideas and strategies to ensure the continuing good work in performing arts medicine is reaching the people who need it and served as an excellent networking forum for performers, teachers and health practitioners alike. I’m delighted to have been invited back to speak at this event again next year and look forward to keeping up this very important dialogue.

Autogenic Training Course with Giovanna Reitano

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This course is provided independently by Giovanna Reitano, an AT practitioner with a background in the performing arts (music, drama and storytelling), and a member of the British Autogenic Society and the BAPAM Directory of Performing Arts Medicine Practitioners.

To find out more and for bookings, please contact Giovanna directly at autogenic-training@musarteandmore.com.

Enhancing Performance with Autogenic Training

Autogenic Training (AT) is a simple relaxation technique and alternative therapy which helps to reduce stress and stress-related conditions, enhance performance, and general well-being.

The seven weeks AT sessions/course helps to:

Bring the body and mind into a state of awake relaxation at will, for example also before or after a performance.

Reduce stress symptoms such as anxiety, stage fright, panic attacks, muscular and emotional tension, headaches and migraines, tiredness, sleeplessness.

Improve focus, concentration and creativity.

Enhance performance and self-esteem.

Develop a calmer attitude to stressful situations.

Venue: The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM), Totara Park House, 4th Floor, 34–36 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HR.

Cost: A course of 7 weekly sessions costs £185.