Understanding Contributing Factors and Optimizing Prevention and Management of Flute Playing-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
MetadataShow full item record
The flute playing position is essentially quite static, with the instrument being held unilaterally, against gravity, often for extended durations. The nature of this position, especially when fatigued, involves unavoidable muscular imbalances. If these are not counterbalanced through stretching, conditioning, or rest, discomfort, tension or pain may result. Major studies have documented the prevalence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders and a comparison of these has shown that flutists report pain typically in the neck, middle/upper back, shoulders, wrists and hands. Many contributing factors may lead to playing-related musculoskeletal disorders, such as postural flaws, physical and psychological characteristics, incorrect technique, fatigue, intensity and type of practice, discrepancies between instrument size and physical stature, stress, lack of conditioning, and lifestyle choices. Some studies indicate that playing in an asymmetrical position may be more likely to cause more upper body musculoskeletal symptoms, which leads to the question of why the modern flute was initially built as a transverse instrument, rather than a vertically held instrument. Due to limited data specifically on the rate of injuries in the flute community, new research was necessary to help establish areas of concern to the flute community. Central to this research is a study undertaken in 2007 which characterizes these problems more clearly. The survey presented herein is the only large-scale study of musculoskeletal problems facing flutists since some major studies undertaken at National Flute Association Conventions in the United States of America in the 1990s. In the current survey, members of the international flute community were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey entitled Injury Prevention and Management for Flute Players. The survey was specifically designed to “establish the injury concerns of flute players and teachers of all backgrounds, as well as their knowledge and awareness of playing-related injury prevention and management.” The survey provides new insight into how practice habits, education, lifestyle, and playing background impact on the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in flutists.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Item Access Status
Flute playing position