Course Structure

pianist performing_arts guitarist
First Semester

There are four compulsory modules in semester 1 (modules 1, 2, 4 and 5)

Module 1: Musculoskeletal and neuromuscular performance related injury

Brief Description

This module provides a detailed overview of all body systems emphasising particular areas prone to injury and pathology within performers. It will give clear understanding of the biomechanics of connective tissue, the structure and movement of joints, tendon and ligament points of high-use and strain, the skin, the nervous systems, areas of acute to chronic pain, reviews of the respiratory, auditory and ophthalmic systems. Clear clinical examples that relate the module to psychological aspects of performance and assessment and rehabilitation aspects of performer’s health, along with holisticism and the differential diagnosis of conditions.

Module 2 : Research Methods and Project initiation

Brief Description

The module consists of lectures, tutorials and workshops, which cover all basic aspects of biomedical research statistics. The module introduces: designing of research projects including effective sampling; research writing skills and effective literature searching; ethical issues including approval; types of data: e.g. nominal, ordinal, parametric and non-parametric; data analysis, hypotheses testing, linear regression, analysis of variance and commonly used statistical tests and their indication. This course will equip the students with a robust overview and good practice of all major aspects of biomedical statistics. In addition, students will be able to translate this knowledge directly to their research projects for the course.

Module 4: Drugs and Disability within the performing arts world

Brief Description

The module provides an overview of commonly used medications and provides a scientific understanding of their mechanism of action. It also describes the effects of stimulants and social drugs. This module also covers problems associated with the senses, such as hearing loss, and other impairments and the broader issue of disability and the performing artists. It aims to provide the student with a detailed overview of the special senses and impairment and the positive and negative effects of medication.

Module 5: Environmental issues, travelling and touring, governance and the law

Brief Description

This module looks at common performer’s stressors and how to address them; performance anxiety, prevention and treatment and common psychological and psychiatric problems and treatments. It details how to facilitate well-being and good mental health and discusses choosing a career path and its associated problems. It provides an understanding of the developmental aspects of being a performer, from childhood and adolescence to old age and also the relationship between creativity, performance and mental illness.

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Second Semester:

There are three compulsory modules in semester 2 (modules 3, 6 and 7) and a choice between modules 9 and 10.

Module 3: Performance Psychology

Brief Description

This module details physical and psychological issues related to the environment, touring and travelling both as they effect the performing artist whilst providing an overview of performing arts organisations in the UK at a variety of levels from voluntary to professional bodies.

It will provide in detail the risks to performers and the regulatory frameworks with prevention strategies: providing an overview of the role of the legal system in protecting the performer and it’s interaction with organisations on a national and international level; giving an overview of the structure of amateur and professional performing arts in the UK.

Module 6: Assessment and Wellness of the performing artists

Brief Description

This module covers assessment of performing injury, pathology and disorder. The subject matter contains relevant points in terms of taking detailed history and discussion of examination findings relevant to the neuromuscular system. You will gain an understanding of the psychological aspects such as performance anxiety, psychiatric problems and coping strategies, lifestyle issues and social factors as they impact on health and ill health. The module aims to provide the student with a detailed overview of the points in history taking and examination unique to the performing artist covering the areas of injury, psychology and lifestyle. This will be a live subject examination module with much interaction of real performers describing real situations and real pathologies.

Module 7: Rehabilitation of performance related injury

Brief Description

This module covers the rehabilitation principles in detail of performance related injuries. The subject matter contains relevant anatomy and biomechanics, musculo-skeletal tissue recovery potential and patterns, effective goal setting for recovery and return to play and current concepts of rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

The module will give an overview of how injuries are rehabilitated from onset to return to activity including post-surgical patients and will, as much as possible, be case-study led.

Module 9: Medical Problems of Instrumentalists and Dancers

Brief Description

This module is taught jointly by the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban.

This optional module recognises the need for specialised teaching in problems unique to instrumentalists. The module describes in detail neck and upper limb problems including specialised teaching, in detail, of the musician’s hand. There are demonstrations of instrumental techniques and problems associated with specific classes of instruments such as string, percussion and wind instruments. To provide a detailed understanding of issues related to instrumentalists, a sound framework for recognition of injury and assessment and rehabilitation of instrumental related problems.

Module 10: Clinical Voice Management

Brief Description

This optional module aims to update on normal voice production including anatomy and physiology and the general principles of voice production. It will provide details of common medical diagnoses and treatments for vocal pathology as well as examining psychogenic aspects of voice disorders and impaired voice production. Knowledge of pitch, loudness, register and quality, efficient and inefficient voice use will also be considered in respect of voice assessment, videolaryngoscopy and models of management.

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Research project, write up and dissertation.

Project example:

  • A scientific investigation into violin and viola playing: the muscle activity in the neck and shoulder, and the characteristic movements involved.
  • Investigating functional scoliosis in guitarists using different guitar support tools.
  • Evaluating Hypermobility of Finger Joints in Flautists

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Modules will be assessed by written examination, coursework, case-study or Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). The research project will be assessed, in addition, by viva voce examination.

Candidates are examined in the year they complete the course.

UCL regulations stipulate that all examinations will be conducted in UCL onsite.