Experiencing music is widely recognised to have significant positive impacts on wellbeing, and for those who make the music, the opportunities for expression and creativity can develop autotelic value (a love of learning), and enhance one’s sense of identity and self-worth. However, it cannot be denied that being a musician can also be associated with negative health issues such as chronic pain, hearing loss, anxiety, and general psychological distress.
Music as a profession is a highly demanding career. The thousands of hours of practice and playing, the pressure of a highly competitive market, strenuous travel and performance schedules, and the stress of performing regularly in front of an audience, can all put a strain on musicians’ mind and body. As a result, the purveyors of this tremendously positive and significant art form can end up the target of music-related ill-being.
As a higher education music institution, we understand health promotion is a priority and an essential part of our responsibility as we support young musicians in building the foundations for a successful and sustainable career. With this awareness, the CC Music Performance Research launches a new line of investigation aimed at actively promoting wellbeing throughout musicians’ professional life.
The “Empowering Musicians” research programme focuses on musicians’ health in terms of wellbeing and positive functioning, above and beyond the freedom from illness. Our research reveals the complexity of wellbeing as it applies to musicians, including physical and mental health. In so doing, it promotes health literacy among music professionals, students, and pedagogues, it challenges taboos and myths concerning musician’s health and provides musicians with effective strategies and skills for personal growth, to allow them to work towards an enhanced state of wellbeing and positive functioning.