Health and wellbeing
As the relatively new discipline of Performing Arts Medicine continues to evolve, so awareness of the risks to mental and physical health and wellbeing faced by performing artists increases.
Life as a performer is mentally and physically demanding, with the majority of problems reported as musculoskeletal. However other issues relating to vocalisation, breathing, embouchure, hearing and vision are not uncommon. Many musicians are affected to a greater or lesser extent by anxiety and depression.
Most problems develop over time, usually as a result of a complex interaction of many factors which vary from person to person and, more often than not, without the individual’s awareness. As well as impacting on health and well-being, such problems can also place limits on an individual’s achievements both in music and in other aspects of everyday life. For instance, many musicians experience technical difficulties or find that they cannot improve beyond a certain level of skill. However, given appropriate and timely advice and support, the majority of problems are not only treatable, but preventable.
At Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we have a small group of experts who can help you overcome and prevent difficulties relating to practice and performance, and thus achieve your full potential as musicians and in other aspects your lives.
We are committed to supporting your progress at the Conservatoire through the Alexander Technique. By bringing about an improvement in balance and co-ordination, the Technique offers a practical means for personal change. Through a series of classes and individual lessons run by Alison Loram, Roy Thompson and Pauline Wetherell, you'll be provided with a firm grounding in the principles of the Technique and how to apply them to your practice and performance and many other aspects of your everyday life.
Classes and lessons in the Alexander Technique can help improve vocal and instrumental skills and prevent or address problems of performance.
Performance coaching and mentoring
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was the first conservatoire in the UK to introduce a performance coaching programme which borrows and adapts ideas used in sport psychology and the mental regimes it embraces.
Performance Coaching and Mentoring, led by Max Garrard, is aimed at training students to manage their thought processes (often resulting in, and manifesting as, performance anxiety), both in the build up to, and during performances. Through individually tailored sessions and opportunities to perform in group situations, students can begin to understand how to manage these thought processes in a performance situation using a variety of techniques, which can help them perform to their full potential under pressure.
Performance-related medical problems
For specific performance-related problems students should contact the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) for an appointment with an assessing clinician who will be able to advise about treatment and therapy. Clinics are held locally and nationally, including at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, and the initial assessment is free.