Are music students fit to play? A case study of health awareness and injury attitudes amongst tertiary student cellists

Dale L.L. Rickert, Margaret S. Barrett, Bronwen J. Ackermann

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Injury risks associated with musical performance continue to be a serious problem for professional and student musicians. Much research has focused on the incidence and severity of these problems yet less information is available on the potential influence of health awareness and attitudes to injuries in these populations. This study aimed to investigate health awareness and attitudes to injury amongst Australian music students. Using a qualitative case study methodology, in-depth semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 11 student cellists. Further interviews were undertaken with 10 orchestral cellists and five orchestral management staff as a means of triangulating student data. All data were analysed using a "themes-based" analysis of narrative approach. Findings indicated that in comparison to professional cellists students demonstrated poor health awareness and behaviours such as playing through pain and inaction in response to injury. Analysis of the combined interview data (student, professional and management) suggest that there is poor health awareness and knowledge of injury prevention strategies at all levels of education and training. All three participant groups felt that changes needed to be made to current music education practices and that health education should be integrated into core curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-441
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • health awareness
  • injury prevention
  • music education
  • playing-related injury
  • student health behaviours

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