Magazine article American Music Teacher

Annotated Bibliography on Musician Wellness

Magazine article American Music Teacher

Annotated Bibliography on Musician Wellness

Article excerpt


This year's bibliography contains some of the latest books related to wellness issues for musicians, The full bibliography can be found on MTNA's website at, under the "Resources and Services" drop-down menu.

The format of the bibliography is as follows:

General information included: Author, date of publication, title, publisher, publisher's address, phone and/or fax if available, e-mail and website information if available, number of pages and ISBN number.

Specific information included: A brief description of the content of the book, journal, website or video, the intended audience (addressing value for the instrumentalist, keyboardist and/or vocalist), the authors' approach and specific techniques (such as physiological and psychological, when relevant), and general research information and bibliography and/or end notes, if included in the book. A general viewer evaluation is also included. Topics include prevention of medical problems, meditation, performance anxiety, performance preparation, learning theories, and physiological and psychological issues related to musicianship.


Andrews, Elizabeth. (1997) Healthy Practice for Musicians. Rhinegold Publishing Ltd; 241 Shaftesbury Ave., London WC2H 8EH, Great Britain; phone: 0171 333 1721; fax: 0171 333 1769. 421 pp. ISBN: 0-946890-73-0.

This book is mainly targeted to instrumental musicians, particularly string players. It is a self-help manual that gives a comprehensive view of practicing and includes both the physiological and psychological aspects of playing.

There are 15 chapters in the manual. Chapter 1 serves as an "Introduction" and discusses the purpose of the text. Chapters 2 and 3, "Musicians Versus Instrument I and II," examine such things as physique, how one grows, and the physical relationship to one's instrument, muscles and joints, skin problems, calluses and varicosity. Chapter 4, "Above the Shoulders," is about the eyes, ears, neck, teeth and the jaw, nutrition, dyslexia and tinnitus. Various treatments for related problems are briefly mentioned.

Chapter 5, "Musicians Versus Environment," reviews the basic things musicians deal with in their practice and performing spaces including topics such as jet-lag. Chapter 6, "Food Matters," examines diet, weight, vitamins, minerals, digestion, cholesterol, food allergies and more.

Chapters 7 and 8, "Musicians Versus Emotions I and II," are about the psychological aspect of practicing and performing. These chapters examine such issues as stage fright, psychosomatic aches and pains, self-talk, criticism, visualization and so forth.

The remaining chapters deal with the muscles used when playing an instrument. Chapter 9, "The Physical Nitty-Gritty," discusses the physiological aspects of playing an instrument. The arms, fingers, muscle-tone and tension, balance, ligaments and antagonistic muscles are examined. Specific physical conditions and other common disorders such as nerve impingement and arthritis are examined, as well as the sciatic nerve.

Chapter 10, "Testing What's Wrong," is a discussion about muscle testing and assessment. In Chapter 11, "Muscles of the Face, Neck and Jaw," are examined. In Chapter 12, "Muscles of the Shoulder, Upper Arm and Elbow," and in Chapter 13, "Muscles of the Forearm, Wrist and Hand," some of the most important muscles directly involved in playing an instrument are carefully reviewed with discussion on their use and the prevention of problems. Chapter 14, "Muscles of the Abdomen, Back and Other Postural Muscles," examines the most important ones that are relevant to musicians. Chapter 15, "More Useful Techniques," is a final chapter that gives some practical advice about a variety of situations that can occur with practicing and performing musicians.

Many chapters end with a chapter summary, as well as a list of organizations relevant to the topics examined. …

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