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Prevalence of overuse (injury) syndrome in Australian music schools.
  1. H J Fry


    Overuse (injury) syndrome, common in musicians, is characterised by persisting pain and tenderness in the muscles and joint ligaments of the upper limb due to excessive use and in more advanced instances by weakness and loss of response and control in the affected muscle groups. This occurs typically in tertiary music students when their practice load is raised. In seven Australian performing music schools the minimum prevalence of the condition was found to be 9.3%. In two music schools where the study was more controlled the incidences were 13% and 21%. The factors leading to overuse (injury) syndrome may be identified as follows: the genetic factor of vulnerability which cannot be altered; the student's technique which may be influenced by teaching and application so that it is more "energy efficient"; and the time X intensity of practice which is totally within the student's control. Prevention involves education of staff and students about the overuse process, rationalisation of practice habits and repertoire, abolition or reduction of static loading of the weight of the instruments, and earlier reporting when the problem is most easily corrected. Psychological problems arising in this syndrome appeared to occur as a reaction to the condition rather than as a causal factor.

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