Arts Medicine journal N°86 special issue musician

Arts Medicine journal N°86 special issue musicianArtists' Health, musician's Health

Issue 86. Special issue on musicians' practices
Medical and scientific approach to artistic practices

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Articles about the musician's health on topics rarely covered

The pedagogy of piano teaching for intellectually precocious children must be adapted. It must take into account their superior intellectual ability as well as their hypersensitivity. The teacher must not lose sight of the fact that each child must also keep the pleasure of playing and sharing music.

Later, professional music practice requires sophisticated sensory-motor skills. Concerts and recordings take place at different times of the day, so the sensorimotor accuracy dependent on chronotype fluctuations can be a real challenge for the musician. Can these skills be modified depending on the time of day and the musician's chronotype: early chronotype or late chronotype?

Eating disorders in dancers were known to occur, but these disorders also exist in musicians and are frequently found; stress, perfectionism, anxiety are risk factors for eating disorders in musicians.

Does performance anxiety represent as much difficulty for young musicians as it does for older musicians? The negative effects of stage fright on young musicians are still poorly known and less studied. Young musicians use particularly varied but ineffective means to manage the stress of the stage situation. Studies must also be undertaken to validate the most effective techniques in this field, evaluate trainers and train teachers.

Edito Arts Medecine N°86

Teaching Piano to Precocious Children

pages 4-24

By a very early age, intellectually precocious children have intellectual abilities that surpass those of other children, associated with hypersensitivity, a thirst for discovery, and a fertile imagination. Piano playing and the intellectual and emotional fulfillment it entails may help these gifted children learn enjoy working hard and persevering. But teaching piano to precocious children must necessarily take into account the specific ways in which they learn. Based on his experiences with young precocious students, the author, a piano teacher, describes the different learning stages involved. He points out some preventive measures that should be applied right from the beginning of music playing (posture, positioning of fingers and other anatomical segments, the ergonomics of the piano bench, foot rest, pedal extender, etc.). The teacher must adapt to the unique case of each precocious child, while keeping in mind an essential and ongoing objective for the child: always enjoy playing and sharing music with others.

Key words: intellectually precocious child; piano; learning; teaching; pedagogy; prevention.

Floris T. Van Vugt, Katharina Treutler, Eckart Altenmüller, Hans-Christian Jabusch

pages 26-38

Making music on a professional level requires a maximum of sensorimotor precision. Chronotype-dependent fluctuations of sensorimotor precision in the course of the day may prove a challenge for musicians because public performances or recordings are usually scheduled at fixed times of the day. We investigated pianists’sensorimotor timing precision in a scale playing task performed in the morning and in the evening. Participants’chronotype was established through the Munich Chrono-Type Questionnaire, where mid-sleeptime served as a marker for the individual chronotypes. Twenty-one piano students were included in the study. Timing precision was decomposed into consistent within-trial variability (irregularity) and residual, between-trial variability (instability). The timing patterns of late chronotype pianists were more stable in the evening than in the morning, whereas early chronotype pianists did not show a difference between the two recording timepoints. In sum, the present results indicate that even highly complex sensorimotor tasks such as music playing are affected by interactions between chronotype and the time of day. Thus, even long-term, massed practice of these expert musicians has not been able to wash out circadian fluctuations in performance.
Floris T. Van Vugt, Katharina Treutler, Eckart Altenmüller, Hans-Christian Jabusch

Key words: musician; piano; scale playing; practice; sensorimotor performance; chronobiology; chronotype; circadian fluctuation.

Eating Disorders in Musicians: a Survey Investigating Self-reported Eating Disorders of Musicians

pages 39-50

This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of eating disorders (EDs) in musicians, and to evaluate their relation to perfectionism, stress, anxiety and depression.

It examined: (1) the prevalence of EDs using the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), body mass index (BMI) and self-reports, (2) psychological risk factors using the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) and perfectionism inventory and (3) demographic details, information about musical and career development, lifestyle, eating habits and health. A survey was distributed worldwide and a total of 301 English-speaking musicians aged 18 years and older participated.

Our screening tools for EDs showed a high prevalence of EDs in musicians: the EDE-Q Global Score (EDE-QGS) showed pathological values in 18.66% of the musicians and when questioned about lifetime prevalence, 32.3% of the musicians answered positively. The median BMI was within the normal range. Regarding general mental health, the DASS-21 showed that depression and stress were severe, anxiety was extremely severe and the perfectionism inventory composite score was 26.53. There was no significant difference on the EDE-QGS between musicians who perform different types of music, but music students, professionals, soloists and musicians travelling overseas had a higher percentage of pathological EDE-QGS. Perfectionism was higher in classical musicians and there was a low positive correlation between EDE-QGS and the risk factors: perfectionism, depression, anxiety, stress, peer pressure and social isolation.

EDs are prevalent in musicians and possible risk factors are their increased perfectionism, depression, anxiety and stress due to the demands of their job.
Marianna Evangelia Kapsetaki, Charlie Easmon

Key words: eating disorders; musicians; perfectionism; stress; anxiety; depression.

pages 52-54

pages 56-60

Playing in front of an audience can be both a great pleasure and an overwhelming anxiety. All the tonalities between these two emotional tendencies can be found in the musician, before and during instrumental practice in front of an audience. The performance anxiety of young musicians is poorly documented, although it causes as much distress as it does among older musicians.

Musical practices benefit from early learning and this justifies a better understanding of the components of anxiety related to the performance of younger musicians in order to provide them with appropriate responses as part of their teaching.

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