Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the many issues that affect Musician’s Health and Wellness. I’ve amassed a sizable library of books on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, neurology, Alexander Technique, psychology, and contemplative practice. One result of this path of study has been a desire to pass along knowledge that might be useful to other musicians, to help them avoid or at least recover from the many Wellness challenges we can face. I co-founded the Thornton Wellness Committee in 2011, and since then it has become a positive force for healing at our school. We have initiated a series of public forums on topics as diverse as: Injury Prevention and Recovery; Hearing Protection: Performance Anxiety; Music and Mindfulness; Drum Circles for Stress Relief, and many others. We also have begun pre-screening programs, including laryngeal scopes for singers, hearing tests for high-decibel instrumentalists, and musculoskeletal analyses for potential Overuse Syndromes. Perhaps most importantly, the Wellness Committee has welcomed expert health professionals from across the Keck USC School of Medicine; these dedicated physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, audiologist, otolaryngologists, mental health counselors and sports psychology practitioners have richly enhance the well-being of our students.
I’m exceedingly proud of the course that I developed in 2017, which continues to be a learning experience for me every year I teach it. The increased emphasis that it’s cause me to place on the physical, mental and spiritual health of musicians has made me, I believe, a better teacher, player, and human being.