“Laying the Foundation for Peak Performance”
Playing-related health issues (e.g., musculoskeletal disorders, performance anxiety, hearing loss, etc.), are very common in percussionists. These pose significant career risks given the financial challenges of taking time off to recover and the lack of extended healthcare benefits to offset the high costs of rehabilitation. Physical and mental health and well-being are central to delivering peak performance, yet there is often stigma associated with these topics.
The goal of the Health & Well-being Axis is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between and within health professionals, percussionists, and percussion educators. Better dialogue between these groups is crucial to preventing injury and promoting health/wellness, because:
- Percussionists are likely to encounter any number of playing-related health issues during their careers;
- The support of health professionals is crucial to percussionists’ health and wellness; and
- Percussion educators are ideally situated to raise awareness and promote healthy behaviours fostering resilience, well-being, and career longevity in their students.
We will also seek to generate evidence-based insights that will inform best practices related to injury prevention, which can then be incorporated into percussion education curricula. Over time, this may lead to more effective prevention and management of these issues and their associated impacts on economics and quality of life.
My primary background and research training are in occupational biomechanics and biomedical engineering (biomechanics, neurophysiology, and injury prevention). I’m also a music lover and studied several instruments as a child, including dabbling in playing the drums. Percussion instruments are some of the most physically demanding instruments to play, which leads to lots of interesting questions about percussionists’ athleticism, performance, and injuries. However, much more research is needed to learn the best ways to apply the principles of ergonomics and sport science (including sport psychology) to percussion performance. If this sounds like a project you’d like to be involved with, please email me for details on applying to be a member of this axis.
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