Liverpool Philharmonic, Help Musicians UK and Liverpool John Moores University have launched an initiative to research injury prevention in professional musicians.
Physiotherapist and Masters graduate Céleste Rousseau will undertake a three-year PhD research and development programme into injury prevention, focusing on common and significant injuries experienced by orchestral musicians.
Starting with the musicians of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the research will also reach classical musicians across the UK to develop a range of injury assessment, prevention and recovery interventions, to support and sustain healthy careers in the sector.
The research was commissioned in response to UK and international research findings, which have consistently raised concerns regarding the prevalence and impact of ‘playing-related’ injuries for musicians.
Rousseau’s findings will be published throughout her PhD, to inform the sector as well as health professionals seeking to learn from and adopt any new methods specific to supporting musicians.
She is the first PhD Student in Liverpool Philharmonic’s pioneering Musicians Performance and Wellbeing programme, which helps ensure musicians are equipped to thrive personally and professionally within the demands of consistently playing at the highest level in a professional symphony orchestra.
Established in 2015, the programme was set up with support from Help Musicians UK and Jerwood Arts and draws upon existing published research in performing arts health and learning from professional sport and performance science.
Thelma Handy, leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, said: ‘A symphony orchestra is greater than the sum of its parts, it’s a body of artists and artistic excellence is at the heart of what we do. Our experience since we began our Musicians’ Performance and Wellbeing Programme in 2015 is that preventing injury is as important if not more so, than supporting recovery from it, in order to succeed at the highest level.
‘As well as supporting our own musicians in the orchestra, Céleste’s research will hopefully help to drive positive change across the music industry to ensure musicians are more effectively prepared and supported to meet the needs of a demanding profession throughout their training and professional careers.