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Gail Berenson

Chair, ISME Musicians’ Health and Wellness Special Interest Group (SIG)

Recognising the importance of addressing the vital issue of musicians’ health and wellness, the ISME Executive Board added a special interest group to serve as a resource on this topic for musicians around the world. Although only in existence since 2012, the ISME Musicians’ Health and Wellness Special Interest Group (SIG) has grown exponentially, expanding its visibility and positively impacting the music teaching community. Our SIG functions under the larger umbrella of the ISME Forum on Instrumental and Vocal Teaching, a group that focuses on studio/performance (one-on-one or small group) teaching.

Our goal is to benefit the entire spectrum of musicians – all disciplines, all ages, all levels, performing and non-performing, providing a broad and diverse source of information focusing on essential health and wellness information, both physiological and psychological. Providing musicians this crucial information will positively affect the well being of countless current and future musicians throughout the world. We encourage readers to go to our ISME webpage for a range of the potential topics we are addressing.

The following devoted musicians and physicians currently serve on our SIG’s steering committee. Each is passionate on this topic and devoted to educating musicians on the topic of musicians’ health in an effort to ensure that they and their students are able to maintain a lifetime of healthy, joyous music making.

Committee members:

  • Chair: Gail Berenson, pianist – United States
  • Chair-Elect: Dr. Carina Joly, pianist – Brazil
  • Dr. Serap Bastepe-Gray, guitarist and physician – Turkey/United States
  • Dr. John Chong pianist and physician – Canada 
  • Dr. Jennie Morton, singer and physician – UK/United States
  • Peter Visentin, violinist – Canada 

Special advisors:

  • Dr. Eckart Altenmüller, flautist and physician – Germany
  • Graham Bartle – Australia
  • Sylvia Schwarzenbach, clarinetist – Switzerland

Preparations are now getting underway for the 2018 ISME World Conference, which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, July 15-20, 2018. Our SIG will once again offer a track of musicians’ health and wellness sessions throughout the conference. At the 2016 Glasgow World Conference, the number of musicians’ health and wellness sessions quadrupled, bringing together a vibrant community of people in attendance at these sessions and eager to exchange ideas. In addition to the sessions, we also held informal dinners to provide additional networking and socialising opportunities.

Our newly created Facebook page will be our primary vehicle for communicating with interested ISME members. I invite everyone to join us on Facebook to learn more about our SIG. Once details for submitting proposals are available, we will post that information on this page. We encourage you to submit a proposal or just come to participate in an exciting exchange of ideas on this important topic. The unique networking opportunities and ability to interact with fellow colleagues from around the world are a special benefit of attending a world conference.

Meanwhile, we welcome your ideas about the direction you’d like to see our SIG take. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me.