Quantifying the Physical Demands of a Musical Performance and Their Effects on Performance Quality
School of Human Movement Studies, Faculty of Education, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.Medical problems of performing artists (Impact Factor: 0.92). 06/2010; 25(2):66-71.
This study investigated the effects of fatigue on performance quality induced by a prolonged musical performance. Ten participants prepared 10 min of repertoire for their chosen wind instrument that they played three times consecutively. Prior to the performance and within short breaks between performances, researchers collected heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, blood lactate concentration, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and rating of anxiety. All performances were audio recorded and later analysed for performance errors. Reliability in assessing performance errors was assessed by typical error of measure (TEM) of 15 repeat performances. Results indicate all markers of physical stress significantly increased by a moderate to large amount (4.6 to 62.2%; d = 0.50 to 1.54) once the performance began, while heart rate, respirations, and RPE continued to rise by a small to large amount (4.9 to 23.5%; d = 0.28 to 0.93) with each performance. Observed changes in performance between performances were well in excess of the TEM of 7.4%. There was a significant small (21%, d = 0.43) decrease in errors after the first performance; after the second performance, there was a significant large increase (70.4%, d = 1.14). The initial increase in physiological stress with corresponding decrease in errors after the first performance likely indicates "warming up," while the continued increase in markers of physical stress with dramatic decrement in performance quality likely indicates fatigue. Musicians may consider the relevance of physical fitness to maintaining performance quality over the duration of a performance.
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ABSTRACT: Body posture appears to influence fatigue and musculoskeletal complaints in musicians. Our aim was to determine energy expenditure and to investigate whether energy expenditure is affected by body posture in brass and woodwind instrumentalists. Eighteen musicians (10 women, 8 men; 6 brass, 12 woodwinds), with a mean age of 39 ± 14 years and mean body mass index of 23.8 ± 4.9 kg/m², played their instruments for 30 minutes twice: once in nonoptimized body posture (posture A), and once in a posture according to the postural exercise therapy method Mensendieck (posture B). Patients were randomized to the order of postures in a crossover design AB/BA. Playing sessions were preceded and followed by 60 minutes of rest. Energy expenditure was measured in a respiration chamber with indirect calorimetry. Basal metabolic rate was measured with a ventilated hood. Mean metabolic equivalents (MET) for playing a wind instrument in the sitting position in a nonoptimized posture and posture according postural exercise therapy were 1.69 (SD 0.18) and 1.80 (SD 0.22), respectively. Percent change between resting metabolic rate and total energy expenditure while playing was 32% (95% CI 25-39%) in posture B and 23% (95% CI 17-30%) in posture A (p = 0.021). Average physical activity while playing a wind instrument approximates 1.8 MET. Our data show an association between energy expenditure and body posture while playing a brass or woodwind instrument: playing a musical instrument in a posture according to postural exercise therapy leads to higher energy expenditure as compared to a nonoptimized body posture. These results suggest that fatigue and the general feeling of lack of energy after playing a musical instrument are not related to actual higher energy expenditure.
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ABSTRACT: This article summarizes the physical and psychological problems that can befall performing artists and aims to provide an insight into their prevention.
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