Research on instrumental music majors is an important subset of performance injury literature (Barton, et al., 2008, Brandfonbrener, 2009). Musculoskeletal problems, physical and mental stress, and performance anxiety are common (Bernhard, 2005, 2020; Guptil, et al., 2005; Steinmetz, et al., 2012). Consequently, “healthy musicianship” (Taylor, 2016) is a growing area of interest within schools of music. Preservice music teachers need tools to maintain mental and physical wellness. They also need to learn to guide future students in healthy practices. Understanding how preservice teachers acquire pedagogical content knowledge in healthy musicianship is important: their approach to musical performance issues will influence many others. NASM provides guidelines for college students’ musical well-being, and recent researchers illuminated various perspectives on wellness, self-care, and stress (Bernhard, 2021; Kuebel, 2019; Payne et al., 2020). However, specific guidance on “teaching for healthy musicianship” is still needed in music teacher education. The purpose of this study was to explore six novice music-teacher participants’ perspectives on learning and teaching healthy musicianship. Participants were three first-year teachers and three preservice music educators, all alumni or instrumental music teacher education students at a large public university in the southeastern United States. Data were interviews, texted journal prompts and emails, and follow-up inquiries. Questions guiding our qualitative descriptive method (Sandelowski, 2010) were: How do the music teacher-participants view healthy musicianship in themselves and their students? What remedies do they employ when dealing with unhealthy musicianship? What recommendations do participants have for teaching healthy musicianship to preservice teachers? Our participants struggled with, yet eventually found balance between, physical and mental health through solid technique, time management, and mindfulness. Participants worked to model solutions and analyzed their young students’ mindsets in a way similar to what they had learned from studio faculty. Methods courses sometimes inculcated a “technician” mindset—perhaps identifying embouchure pressure or bad bow-holds, rather than how to be mindful of learners’ holistic wellness. Participants’ course loads were so heavy—fragmented between academics and performance—that no one mentor had awareness of the entirety of college’s physical and mental demands. Each of their professors knew only a part of each participant’s experience. Participants were unsure how to appropriately voice concerns about their own struggles. They suggested universities explicitly identify healthy musicianship, and designate time and space for majors to learn how to take care of self and K-12 students. Preservice teachers’ experiences with studio performance, academic classes, and ensembles should be made visible to all faculty, so that departments across the school understand demands placed on students. Implications include making connections between music teacher educators and other curricular areas in health and wellness initiatives, creating a shared mission of health across the school. This work contributes to the Music Teacher Health and Wellness ASPA’s efforts to establish collaboration between stakeholders—performance faculty, conductors, music teachers, music teacher educators—to develop best practices in pre-service music educators, resulting in future generations of healthier musicians.
Salas-Ruiz, Carla; Stanley, Ann Marie; and Burgos, Joshua
"Preservice and Beginning Teachers’ Perceptions of Healthy Musicianship,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 42, Article 2.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol42/iss1/2