Questionnaire Lecture 4

Part One
Please fill in this part of the questionnaire after watching the lecture/powerpoint, trying the warm-up film, watching the musicians’ films and reading the ten steps document. Put the heading of each section before your answers.

Lecture/Powerpoint “How to stay healthy in your profession”:

A. How do muscles function on the chemical level? Where do they get energy from and how do they turn energy in to motion?

B. How long can you keep moving during intense short-duration movement? What do your muscles need to continue for longer?

C. How do muscles get oxygen so that we can continue playing for longer periods? Name three tactics that that you can use while practicing for improving oxygen flow to the muscles.

D. What do warm-ups do in this context? Name three physical effects of warming up.

E. What does an effective warming-up procedure involve? Name the three elements.

F. In the section of the lecture on singing, what general information is given on holding tension in your body, and on smoking? If you are a singer, what are the tips that you heard about maintaining vocal health? If you are a wind player, what tips can you take away as well?

G. What are some ingredients for a breakdown or injury? What are some contributing factors that can lead to injury? What are the five factors or categories of elements that can contribute to developing pain or injury?

H. What are some of the common musicians injuries that can occur?

I. When does discomfort become injury? What are the guidelines that we need to look at to assess if we should go for advice and help?

Warm-up film:
What did you think of the warm-up film? How did you feel before and after? Do you do warm-ups yourself like this before you play and sing?

Films: Musicians Speak on Keeping Fit
Please give examples for each step below, taking them from the six films you watched of the “Musicians Speak on Keeping Fit”

Step 1 “Exercise and keep in good general shape” What were some of the tactics that musicians mentioned using to keep in generally good condition?

Step 2: “Practice as a musical athlete” What were some of the warm-ups or stretches that musicians in the films used to keep limber and strong?

Step 3: “Pay attention to your posture” What did people mention about how they sit and stand when playing?

Step 4: “When rehearsing, consider the sequence of pieces (and take breaks)” How did musicians say they paced and planned their practice? How do they start their practice day? Did they start with easier pieces or playing exercises and then build up to harder ones? Did they take breaks, and what did they do in them?

Step 5: “Analyse your technique to avoid excessive strain” What did the musicians say about how they monitored themselves while practicing to avoid tension patterns that did not help technique and could lead to strain?”

Step 6: “Analyse the ergonomics of your working environment” How do musicians take care that their practicing or rehearsal environment is healthy? Did they mention any ergonomic issues and solutions: temperature, room to move, chairs, etc.?

Step 7: “Adapt your instrument to yourself whenever possible” Did they mention any individual ergonomic issues that they had to address with holding or supporting their instrument, and what were their solutions?

Step 8: “Build up towards peak performances” Did the musicians mention how they dealt with a heavy playing schedule? Do they plan their playing work, and allow for times of recovery after intense periods in the orchestra?

Step 9: “Attend to performance anxiety issues” Did the musicians mention any times that they need to deal with performance anxiety? Did they tell at all about how they stay calm and feeling prepared? Did they find help and solutions?

Step 10: “Seek professional help rapidly when your body gives you signals that something is wrong” Did any of the musicians mention that they had had some physical difficulties that they needed to overcome to function in their profession? Did they mention having gone for advice to a medical professional or alternative therapist? “Seek help” can here also include extra personal study into therapeutic or other methods to promote their own well-being. (Please note: All of the musicians in the films have had some advice from the physical therapist for their orchestra, our guest teacher Ida Wakely.)

Final film question: Did you like watching these films, and what did you like about them? Which moments spoke to you the most in the films? What did you find most useful or surprising?

Professional Self-Care Quiz on the “ten steps”:
Do the quiz below, describing what you do (and don’t do) in relation to the ten steps. Use the document “Body Maintenance for the Performing Artist, and keep the examples from the films in mind. For each step write:
-What you do or do not do already. Than make an ACTION POINT for each one: what you might do to keep and improve on what you already do, or what you want to try in future. Example Step 1: “I walk four times a week and do yoga stretches. ACTION POINT: I would like to do the yoga more often.”
Note: Not all the steps are equally important for all instruments or voice, of course, so you can sometimes put “does not apply.”

Step 1: “Exercise and keep in good general shape”
Step 2: “Practice as a musical athlete”
Step 3: “Pay attention to your posture”
Step 4: “When rehearsing, consider the sequence of pieces (and take breaks)”
Step 5: “Analyse your technique to avoid excessive strain”
Step 6: “Analyse the ergonomics of your working environment”
Step 7: “Adapt your instrument to yourself whenever possible”
Step 8: “Build up towards peak performances” (planning and pacing yourself)
Step 9: “Attend to performance anxiety issues” (What do you notice about your relationship to performing? When do you feel fine, and when not, and what do you do about it? Do you seek help at all on this common issue?)
Step 10: “Seek professional help rapidly when your body gives you signals that something is wrong” (Do you every have pain, and did ever you seek help and solutions for it? Or do you just “Play through the pain?” Note: check the guidelines in step 10, as they can help you identify when a discomfort is a passing one, and when you may need to seek help.)

Write your Professional Care Improvement Plan:
Take a look at the Quiz that you filled in above: Which steps are you already good at? Which steps would you like to explore and improve? Pick two things you want to try from your ACTION POINTS. Choose things that you want to try out in the coming two weeks. These two tactics should each be carried out at least 3 times for short periods, which you plan in your agenda. You will need these three times to get used to doing it and to be able to notice how it affects you and your work. Write down each time what you did and how it went in a few sentences to be able to answer the second part of the Lecture Questionnaire afterwards. See the main page of this lecture assignment for a description of what your plan should involve. To make your plan, complete the following sentences:

My Professional Care Improvement Plan
I chose to concentrate on these points in the ten steps list:
The ACTION POINTS that I wrote underneath these two steps were:
The tasks that I have decided to try are:

I will do the first task three times on these days:
It will take me this amount of minutes each time:

I will do my second task on these days:
It will take me this amount of minutes each time:

My goal for this short-term plan is:

Part two:
Please fill in this part of the Questionnaire after completing two weeks of work on the practical part of the assignment, your My Professional Care Improvement Plan.

1. Were you able to do both tactics 3 times each? Did you find it difficult to remember to do the new tactics? If so, why was this? If not, how did you make sure you remembered?

2. Was your plan something that you found you could carry out without too much difficulty? Was the plan pleasant to do? Tell about it. If not, you may have tried something too large or too new. What are smaller steps you might take?

3. What did you notice after two weeks of trying the tactic to improve your general state of fitness?

4. What did you notice when applying the practicing tactic you chose to your practice sessions?

5. Did the combination of the two tactics work for you, and what general effects did you notice?

6. How could you have gotten more out of your plan?

7. Which tactics would you think useful to try next in both general fitness and practicing?

8. Which aspects of the ten step plan would you still like to address? How would you go about it?

9. What advice would you give to a fellow musician in relation to maintaining a program of professional self-care? What works for you?