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Biology of Musical Performance and Performance-Related Injury

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Overview

Music performance requires a high degree of physical skill, yet until recently, musical training has paid little attention to the considerable demands made on the mind and body. The Biology of Musical Performance and Performance-Related Injury presents singers and instrumentalists with accurate information on the physical processes that underlie their craft. The book provides a concise overview of the biological principles associated with performance technique while assuming no prior scientific knowledge, making it accessible to both musicians and to health professionals who treat performance-related medical conditions.

Author Alan H. D. Watson explains the concepts and techniques of music performance, discussing themes such as posture and the back; movements of the arm and hand and associated problems; breathing in singers and wind players; the embouchure and respiratory tract in wind playing; the larynx and vocal tract in singers; the brain and its role in skill acquisition and aural processing; and stress and its management. Watson offers performers and teachers the tools they need to create a rational approach to the development and communication of technique. He also provides insight into the origins of performance-related injury, helping to reduce the risk of such problems by encouraging a technique that is sustainable in the long term. Each chapter includes several illustrations and an extensive bibliography for further reading. To support the text, a CD-Rom is included, featuring original diagrams that clearly illustrate the relevant aspects of body structure and function, explaining and illuminating key concepts through an extensive set of animations, sound files, and videos.

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Editorial Reviews

Music Reference Services Quarterly
The best book in its field yet to be published …is highly recommended for those in any discipline who are committed to the performance health of musicians…. Besides being a pleasure to read, the book is a scholarly work that is amply documented with appropriate references. To supplement the written work, numerous deceptively simple figures illustrate the text and often provide additional information.… This is a unique and outstanding book that readers will find to be good reading as well as informative. Unquestionably, it belongs in the libraries of all universities where music is taught and in music conservatories. The Biology of Musical Performance and Performance-Related Injury should be required reading for instrumental and vocal teachers alike, whereas for those concerned with the medical well-being of musicians it is a near encyclopedic source of information applicable to patient care, both preventive and therapeutic.
The British Journal Of Music
This will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for those researching the physiology and biomechanics of performing musicians. In light of this, music performance students would no doubt benefit from having access to this book. Additionally, any institution or centre conducting related research would be well advised to acquire a copy.
Singing
This book was drawn to my attention with the comment 'Read it - it is fantastic!' I have now read it, and totally agree with that verdict....The length of this review is indicative of the wealth of information and understanding that I think is relevant to singing teachers, and which is presented here in an amazingly understandable and comprehensive format.
May 2009 American Reference Books Annual
This work fills a gap in the written knowledge on work and performance-related injuries specific to musicians....An in-depth index enables use of this work as a reference, while the numerous illustrations enhance the comprehensibility of the often complex subjects associated with music biology. A valuable work for any practicing or training musician, this work is also a great resource in any medical-related library where there is a need to understand this unique population's concerns and issues.
C. Blejer
Papers devoted to this subject are scarce. A whole book like this, who covers all kind of instrument—from the human voice up to wind or cord instruments—mixed with up-to-dated concepts on the neurology of performing or learning music is a black pearl. Highly readable with very good drawings. Further editions will turn it in the Bible of musician injuries. Extremely good and complete bibliography....Congratulations to both the author—Alan H. D. Watson—and the publisher—Scarecrow Press, Inc.
March 2010 JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
This may be the book that many readers have been waiting for . . . it attempts to bridge the chasm, more often successfully than not, between the scientist/health care professional and the musician. . . . The author's writing is straightforward and clear, with a tone more scientific than artistic. . . . Overall, I can highly recommend The Biology of Musical Performance and Performance Related Injury.
Nacwpi Journal, May 2009 - Geary H. Larrick
This impressive book is highly recommended for college libraries as well as scholarly readers. The text is accessible and very informative.... Successful.... An excellent book on an important topic.
British Journal of Music Education
This will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for those researching the physiology and biomechanics of performing musicians. In light of this, music performance students would no doubt benefit from having access to this book. Additionally, any institution or centre conducting related research would be well advised to acquire a copy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810863590
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/26/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 608,588
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan H. D. Watson is Senior Lecturer in Anatomy and Neuroscience in the School of Bioscience at Cardiff University. He also teaches a course on music biology at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

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Table of Contents

CD Contents: Teaching Materials vii

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Reference Abbreviations xix

1 Introduction to the Tissues of the Body 1

2 Posture and the Back in Musical Performance 17

3 The Shoulder, Arm, and Hand: Structure and Problems 42

4 Breathing in Singing and Wind Playing 101

5 The Voice: Management and Problems 139

6 The Embouchure and Wind Playing 193

7 The Structure and Organization of the Brain 213

8 How the Performance of Music Affects the Brain 232

9 Hearing and the Processing of Musical Sound by the Brain 276

10 Performance-Related Stress and Its Management 332

Index 353

About the Author 369

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