Student wellbeing is a high priority in higher education, and music students have particular challenges due to the performative nature of their chosen vocation. Physical health issues (such as injuries and musculo-skeletal problems) and difficulties with mental wellbeing (e.g., performance anxiety, stress and depression) are common and often undermine success.
Research has shown that music students are aware that taking care of their wellbeing is preliminary for success and that the responsibility for health promotion and problem prevention is shared between themselves and their institutions. The question is, how can we develop a framework which both supports and enables students within our institutions?
Instrumental music teachers can play an important role as health ambassadors for music students; their wealth of musical experience and student contact time – often one-on-one with their students – places them in a key position to guide and implement changes that would be beneficial for student wellbeing. Music performance researchers can help ascertain issues and provide access to evidence-based solutions to support and inform this process.
The HeLP ME project takes on this tasks by focusing on the role of teachers as health ambassadors in higher education music schools. The project is financed by swissuniversities as part of the P-11 programme for the promotion of research-based teaching. Through a series of workshops, research studies, and resource development strategies, HeLP ME seeks to build a bridge between research evidence on musicians' health and teachers' know-how and experience. Specifically, the project will promote awareness of health and wellbeing topics among music teachers at HSLU M to ignite a process of collaboration, co-creation and knowledge transfer between research and teaching in music, and initiate the development of resources for health prevention and promotion for our students.