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Good health and wellbeing of musicians is key to a sustainable career, so we are proud to have developed this guide with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). It is specially designed to assist musicians working in education and teaching to build healthy routines into their own and their students’ practice, starting the conversation about health and wellbeing as early as possible in their careers.

This guide is also available to download.

Introduction: what does this performance health guide cover

Three-quarters of musicians have health problems that can impact their creative work, ranging from minor inconveniences to career-limiting conditions (Ackermann, Kenny 2014). Many of these conditions could be prevented by healthy practice.

This guide is designed for instrumental and vocal teachers, who will often be the first person a student turns to when they have a problem. It will not make you a clinical expert – you would need professional training to offer clinical advice – but it will give you advice on how to minimise health problems by adopting healthy routines into your own and your students’ practice. It will also help you recognise potential problems and know when to refer to clinical experts.

Students range from early years to retired adults. The general principles here can be applied to students of all ages, although we have offered different suggestions for different age groups where appropriate and indicated where exercises can be adapted for younger children.

To make the information in this guide easier to remember, we have developed the P.E.R.F.O.R.M.A.N.C.E. mnemonic:

P is for Posture

E is for Environment

R is for Routine

F is for Fitness

O is for Overuse

R is for Rest and Recovery

M is for Mental Health

A is for Anxiety

N is for Nutrition

CE is for Clinical Expertise

This guide has been jointly produced by the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and the Musicians’ Union. The P.E.R.F.O.R.M.A.N.C.E. mnemonic was developed for BAPAM by Dr Christina Siomos.

BAPAM delivers expert health and wellbeing services for those working in the performing arts across the UK. BAPAM connects those working and studying in the performing arts with clinical specialists in this field, offering free clinical assessments. It ensures that performance professionals receive the best possible information and training to prevent poor health. It also provides care when things go wrong, to support healthy careers and aid recovery from illness or injury. 

This guide has been written with the input of many people, to whom thanks are due:

Dr Christina Siomos, Dr Sarah Upjohn, Dr Finola Ryan, Berenice Beverley Zammit, Dan Hayhurst, Chris Walters, Julia Grieshofer, Claire Cordeaux, the Musicians’ Union, and to all the BAPAM trainers and clinicians who support performers to sustain a healthy career.

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