Prevalence, factors, and effects of performance related medical disorders (PRMD) among tertiary-trained jazz pianists in Australia and the United States

Graham Wood

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This study provides information in the field of Performance Related Medical Disorders (PRMD) among tertiary trained jazz pianists. There are many published research reports concerning musicians and classical pianists, yet no study of magnitude concerning PRMD among jazz pianist has been undertaken. Participants comprise 160 students (106 Australia; 54 USA) and 54 teachers (36 Australia and 18 USA). Survey by two separate questionnaires, Student and Teacher, was conducted by the researcher and colleagues in timetabled classes and seminars both in Australia and USA and also by email and internet invitation. The 6 case study participants, 3 students (2 Australia; 1 USA) and 3 teachers (2 Australia; 1 USA) were interviewed by telephone. This exploratory and descriptive study aims to provide baseline data for further research about PRMD among jazz pianists. Students report 63% pain and 41% PRMD, the forearm being the body part most affected, usually by fatigue. The study shows a link between age and PRMD, which peaks at age 21-30, lowest among over 35s, and second lowest in the 15-20s. Males suffer more than females, left hand dominant slightly more than right. A tentative claim is made that those students who play through pain, teach piano, fail to warm-up and cool-down, use repetitive finger-strengthening exercises in practice and consciously correct their posture during practice/performance experience more PRMD than those who do not. No relationships are evident between PRMD and state of residence, age of first practice/performance experience, years engaged in a regular practice/performance schedule, frequency, duration and intensity of practice/ performance, repertoire, or away-from-the-piano practice. Practice time is considerably higher on the day prior to a student's lesson. Students describe non-specific symptoms and no long-term disability.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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