Translating classroom knowledge into lifelong wellness

Watch Britney Spears perform and you can see how she developed musculoskeletal injuries. But how did her acrobatics affect her vocal performance? It is well known that participation in sports requires proper warm-ups and specific attention to technique and pacing to avoid injury. But most people don’t transfer that approach to singing or playing an instrument and as a result, many develop injuries.

Western University has launched a first-of-its-kind course to address this growing concern. Integrating concepts and teaching strategies from occupational health, rehabilitation and health promotion, Health and Music Performance ( students/ healthAndMusicPerformance.html ), taught by Christine Guptill ( faculty/bios/cGuptill.html), provides students from Western’s Faculty of Health Science and the Don Wright Faculty of Music an opportunity to transfer knowledge from other courses into clinical applications.

“It’s important to learn how we maintain health through the lifespan, and not just for those who make a living with music, but for those who play or sing for fun,” says Guptill, who holds concurrent bachelor degrees in oboe performance and biology from Western.

She adds this kind of education makes healthcare practitioners – not to mention a professional musician’s manager – aware of the specific issues musicians cope with each day, for example, how holding your concert tuba properly may actually be contrary to appropriate ergonomic standards.

Media are invited to attend Guptill’s regularly scheduled Health and Music Performance class on Monday, March 19th from 6 to 8:40 p.m. in Talbot College, Rm. 100. Guptill and her students will demonstrate best practice techniques and are available for interviews.  

A member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), Guptill was the winner of PAMA’s Brandfonbrener Young Investigators award in 2011. She has been presenting injury prevention workshops with the National Youth Orchestra Canada (NYOC) since 2007. Guptill is also a freelance oboist and performs regularly with the Concert Players Orchestra, which accompanies Fanshawe Chorus London and the Gerald Fagan Singers.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165,