Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Music Research Seminar: Naomi Norton

Research seminar

Health and Wellness Education for Musicians: Investigating Music Teachers’ Perspectives

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music

The speaker is Naomi Norton (Royal Northern College of Music)


Musicians are vulnerable to the development of performance-related problems (PRPs) such as performance-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs), music performance anxiety (MPA), vocal disability, and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Most of these conditions are preventable if appropriate resources are available throughout a musician’s training and career. Instrumental and vocal teachers are influential members of musical communities and could play a significant role in the prevention of PRPs. Specialists from the fields of music education and Performing Arts Medicine (PAM) are repeatedly nominated teachers as potential health promotion advocates. Despite these nominations, research has not yet sought to know, listen to, or speak with instrumental and vocal music teachers in the UK with a view to understanding the current status of health education in musical environments or making informed suggestions for future improvements.

Naomi Norton – a former music student at the University of Leeds – is in the final year of her AHRC-funded PhD research at the Royal Northern College of Music. Her research aims to identify the demographic characteristics of a large sample of UK instrumental and vocal teachers, investigate their educational pathways and personal experiences with PRPs, discover the extent to which these teachers are already engaging with health education, gauge their interest in learning more, and explore teachers’ perspectives on the current state of health promotion for musicians in the UK. This research has utilized a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to address these aims including a large-scale survey with 496 teachers and in-depth interview study with 13 teachers. During her presentation Naomi will present a selection of results from these studies and outline suggestions regarding their application within music education and health promotion for musicians. The session will be of interest and relevance to anyone who studies and/or works within a musical environment and to those who are engaged in the field of performing arts medicine and health promotion.

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