Prevalence, risk factors, and effects of Performance-Related Medical Disorders (PRMD) among tertiary-trained jazz pianists in Australia and the United States
Science and Medicine Inc.
Faculty of Education and Arts
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
This study explores performance-related medical disorders (PRMD) among a sample of tertiary-trained jazz pianists. Participants included both Australian and US pianists (n=214), including current and former tertiary students, professional pianists, and teachers. This mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative) exploratory and descriptive study used survey and case studies to provide baseline data for further research. Students reported a past and present period prevalence of 63% for pain and 41% for PRMD (injury attributed to practice or performance) with the forearm being the body part most affected, usually by fatigue. Diagnosis and treatment were reported as often unsatisfactory mainly due to lack of knowledge of PRMD by teachers and by professional health providers, and also to limited access to specialist PRMD services where these exist. Although teacher knowledge of PRMD is quite low, students still seek advice primarily from their teachers. The current study highlights a need to address the issue of PRMD among jazz pianists and their teachers more strategically, both in its prevention and in diagnosis and treatment.