How to stay healthy in your profession

This is a lecture assignment prepared together with experts on the musician’s body. The lecture, reading, films and warm-up were sent to us by Ida Wakely, experienced physical therapist for PHION orkest van Gelderland en Overijssel, and Charlotte van den Burgh, Mensendieck therapist who works at ArtEZ Conservatory. They draw from their long-term experience in the field, helping professional musicians, to give us information and tips for staying healthy.
This assignment has two parts: theoretical and practical. You can complete the first theoretical section in one or two sessions. Then, in the practical section, you are asked to apply health tactics of your choice for two weeks.

Part one
Please watch the lecture and powerpoint presentation:
How to stay healthy in your profession

You have been sitting now for thirty minutes. Time to refresh yourself with a warm-up from our experts: Warming up for Musicians

Body Maintenance for Performing Artists: Ten steps to maintain health in your profession.
Open this pdf version of the Ten Steps that were mentioned in the lecture, re-read it, and then keep it open for reference as you watch the films below. Make notes of examples of the ten steps that musicians tell about. This will help you fill in the questionnaire afterwards. You can also print out the pdf and keep it with you for your own future reference!

Film Playlist:
Musicians Speak on Keeping Fit
These films were made for us by musicians in a professional orchestra in the Netherlands, Phion, Orkest van Gelderland & Overijssel in the Netherlands. These players speak about their own ways of keeping fit for their job as professional musicians. The descriptions give us an insight into personal methods used by individuals, illustrating the variety and uniqueness of each musician. These films should not be seen as official recommendations or professional advice for all musicians in general. However, they give a series of examples that you can draw on to create your own fitness plan.

Please watch at least 3 films, by clicking on the red title above.
Required: First watch films 1 & 3 (in English)
Choose: Then choose 1 more to watch from the remaining films. Note: Films 2, 5 and 8 are in Dutch, and Films 4, 6 and 7 in English.

Fill in part one of the Questionnaire Lecture 4 now (click on this red title), save it on your computer, and then continue on to the practical assignment below.
If it helps you in filling in the questionnaire, here is the pdf of the powerpoint above to refer to:
PDF How to stay healthy in your profession

Part two
Practical Assignment: Practicing what you learned
Improve your condition and practice more sensibly and effectively
Using the list of ten steps in the reading Body Maintenance for Performing Artists, choose two aspects that you would like to try working on during the coming two weeks.
-One aspect should be focused on improving your basic condition or state (Steps 1,2,3), like cardio exercise, all kind of warm-ups and stretching, posture self-monitoring.
-The other aspect should something you do when practicing, (steps 4,5,6,7)., like starting with easier pieces, checking if you are not using excessive effort, taking breaks, analysing your playing situation (ergonomics), and building up for peak performance.

Think simply: make a plan that you can carry out with success, and write in your agenda when you will be trying these new things. Try to work on each aspect at least 3 times for short periods. Many options are listed on the ten steps list, and more in the films. Any selections are possible. Mix and match as you like, perhaps taking clues from the musicians films that appeal to you. If you pick something you will like to do, you will have more success in carrying it out!

Habits are strong! Remember that you will need to write down what you are going to do and when as habits are strong, and you might otherwise forget. Then write down each time what you did and a sentence or two about what happened. If you have done the tasks or small changes that you decided on, then you are already successful, no matter what. Big results often come much later. Note how the small changes affect your practice, or how you feel.

After doing the practical assignment for the next two weeks, please fill in part two of the Questionnaire Lecture 4 (click on this red title), and hand in the whole questionnaire to your project campus folder. Make sure you hand in the questionnaire (both parts) in one doc or pdf, with your whole name in the title and “Lecture 4”.

If you have any questions or concerns after doing this assignment, please contact the teacher: We have courses, lessons and projects that can help you learn how to improve your professional self-care during your study at the HKU. You can have an office hour to discuss personally how you can make a progressive study plan. You may also wish to contact your tutor or the decaan at the student service centre.