Prinicpal Investigator: SavvidouCo-Investigators: Aaron Gray, Marjorie Skubic
Agency: Mizzou Advantage
This project is a collaboration between three different disciplines: Music, Engineering and Health Science. The long-term goal is to develop strategies for injury-prevention in undergraduate piano students. Common causes of injury among young pianists are: skeletal misalignment, excessive muscular tension and repetitive stress injury. Pathways towards preventing injury include a combination of better educating students on the fundamentals of piano technique and facilitating improvement of kinesthetic awareness so that they may become aware of tension areas and be able to assess their technical habits. Through this project we will investigate the effects of kinesthetic training in pianists to determine how it improves their alignment and movement patterns at the keyboard, thus reducing the risk of injury. By teaming up with Dr. Skubic we will have access to her rehabilitation expertise and motion-capture equipment, which will allow us to measure and compare performances before and after kinesthetic training to determine whether there was any change. Playing the piano is much like sports. Pianists receive a high level of training and they practice daily, often for hours at a time. Analysis of movement by Dr. Gray, who specializes in sports injuries, will show patterns that may potentially cause injury due to repetitive stress or muscular overuse and assist in improving musculoskeletal health.
Injury-prevention is a new area of interest within Schools of Music in the U.S. and relatively few research projects to date deal with this issue. One of the newest guidelines introduced last year in the National Association of Music Schools handbook is the responsibility of all music schools to address and educate their students on injury prevention and musculoskeletal health.
Savvidou P, Li M, Willis B & Skubic M, “Assessing Injury Risk in Pianists: Using Objective Measures to PRomote Self-Awareness,” Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) e-Journal, November 2015, Awarded Best Paper for 2015.
Li M, Savvidou P, Willis B & Skubic M, “Using the Kinect to Detect Potentially Harmful Hand Postures in Pianists,” Proceedings, IEEE International Conference of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Chicago, IL, August 26-30, 2014, pp 762-765.