Accessibility statement

Health and wellness reading and resources

Disclaimer: The information included in this section of the webpage is collated to help musicians find relevant resources and support relating to how to promote their health and wellness. While we strive to ensure quality the inclusion of material on this page should not be construed as endorsement or recommendation by the University of York Department of Music. Please inform Dr Naomi Norton (MHW Coordinator) if you identify a problem with any of the information included and seek medical advice if you experience ill health.

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM)

BAPAM is a unique medical charity. Their mission is to enable student and professional performing artists throughout the UK to achieve and maintain optimal health for performing their art and participating in cultural life. They do this through direct provision of health assessments and information to individual performers in clinics and through broader education, training and dissemination of knowledge about best practice in performing arts medicine.

For more information:

PAM Healthcare Specialists in the UK

The British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) hosts a directory of Performing Arts medicine health practitioners and specialists who have received training relating to the needs of performing artists. For more information about the BAPAM Directory see here:

If you have contact with any healthcare practitioners who work in York or surrounding areas and who has proven to be helpful when working with musicians it would be valuable to establish contact with them. If you would like to forward contact details for relevant individuals or organisations please ask their permission first then contact Naomi with relevant information ( 

Allegro Optical (musician-specialist opticians registered with BAPAM

General health and wellbeing resources for musicians


  • Music, health, and wellbeing (MacDonald et al., 2012)
  • Sound Advice: The ultimate guide to a healthy and successful career in music (Heyman & Jones, 2021)
  • Musical excellence: Strategies and techniques to enhance performance (Williamon, 2004) 
  • The musician’s body: A maintenance manual for peak performance (Rosset i Llobet, J. & Odam, G., 2007)
  • The psychology of music performance anxiety (Kenny, 2011)
  • Playing (less) hurt: An injury prevention guide for musicians (Horvath, 2010)
  • The biology of musical performance and performance-related injury (Watson, 2009)
  • The athletic musician: A guide to playing without pain (Paull & Harrison, 1997) 
  • The voice: A medical guide for achieving and maintaining a healthy voice (Heman-Ackah et al., 2013)
  • The musician’s way: A guide to practice, performance, and wellness (Klickstein, 2009)
  • Secrets of performing confidence: For musicians, singers, actors and dancers (Evans & Evans, 2013)
  • Singing and teaching singing (Chapman, 2011)
  • The Alexander Technique for musicians (Kleinman & Buckoke, 2013)
  • What every singer needs to know about the body (Malde, Allen, & Zeller, 2013) 

Webinars and online videos

Resources relating to specific topics

Behaviour change and psychological, vocal, hearing, and musculoskeletal health

Musicians are commonly affected by psychological, vocal, hearing, musculoskeletal and eye-related health concerns and, as many of these problems are preventable, behaviour is likely to play a large part in promoting healthy and sustainable engagement with music. This section includes a collated list of public access resources relating to these topics. There is also a considerable amount of peer-reviewed literature published about these topics but it is rarely freely available other than through institutions and so has not been included in this list: if you are interested in any of these topics please contact Naomi for more information.

Behaviour change

One of the key challenges for musicians is to apply in practice information relating to promoting health and wellness. The following resources provide insights into why changing health-related behaviour is so difficult and how that can be addressed for the general population and musicians in particular.

  • Kelly, M. P., & Barker, M. (2016). Why is changing health-related behaviour so difficult? Public Health, 136, 109-116. [Available via YorSearch]
  • Michie, S., Atkins, L., & West, R. (2014). The Behaviour Change Wheel: A guide to designing interventions. UK: Silverback Publishing. [Available via YorSearch]
  • Michie, S., van Stralen, M. M., & West, R. (2011). The behaviour change wheel: A new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Implementation Science, 6(42), 6-42. 
  • Norton, N. (2020). Considering musicians’ health and wellness literature through the lens of the Behaviour Change Wheel. Journal of Music, Health, and Wellbeing, Autumn, 1-25. Available to download from 
  • West, R., & West, J. (2019). Energise: The secrets of motivation. UK: Silverback Publishing. [Available via YorSearch]






This is a relatively new area of research and there are limited resources and publications available but research conducted so far indicates that eye problems are common among musicians and that it is important to consider this aspect of musical health. We are lucky to have one of the only specialist eye clinics for musicians in the UK relatively local to us in York: Allegro Optical are registered on BAPAM’s directory of practitioners. You may also find useful tips in the blog posts and video below:


As the 2021 lockdown eases you may be contemplating with excitement, and possibly some trepidation, a return to face-to-face musical activities such as performing, rehearsing, teaching, conducting, community music, sound recording, and many more such diversions and pursuits. As we move through this transition period it is vital to take things steady and remember that this is likely to be quite a shock (mental and physical) to the system. If you have had COVID19 then you may need to take extra steps to allow your body to recover and adjust to the activities that you took part in previously. You can take steps to prepare yourself and also consider the needs and challenges of other musicians you work with (e.g. as an educator or conductor) to make the transition more successful and positive for everyone. The following articles provide practical advice and guidance on how to do that: 

Advice, guidance, research, and support relating to COVID19 are fast changing and it is challenging to keep up with developments. In this section we have gathered together some of the resources relating to COVID19 that may be of interest, but are aware that there may be many more. If you know of useful resources that could be added to this list please contact Naomi.

  • Wearing masks has become a part of our lives in 2020 and 2021, but they come with challenges alongside the benefits that they have for reducing the spread of Covid-19. 
    • Masks can cause anxiety either in the wearer or for those seeing others wearing masks. Mind have put together some resources and support on their webpage. 
    • Not all disabilities are visible and some people may have reasons for accessing certain facilities or not wearing a mask during the Covid-19 pandemic. Hidden Disabilities provide sunflower lanyards that are a way of signalling that someone has a hidden disability. Be aware of those around you and look out for these lanyards, and see the webpage if you think you or someone else you know may be eligible for and benefit from having one.
    • For those who wear glasses ‘fogging up’ can be a real issue. Josie from Allegro Optical has shared some tips for dealing with this frustrating challenge.
    • Some people rely on lip-reading for communication and people wearing masks therefore presents a serious barrier to their ability to interact with those around them. Friendly face masks have been developed to help with this, though you may need to follow the guidance on ‘fogging up’ in the bullet point above to keep them clear.  
  • In March 2020 BAPAM drew together a list of support for performing arts workers and organisations, many of which are still relevant and available. 
  • Covid-19 Risk Assessment Guidelines by the Healthy Conservatoires Network.
  • BAPAM have also published a risk assessment for freelance workers returning to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The PERFORM Study taking place at the University of Bristol investigating the risk of speaking, shouting, and singing in terms of spreading Covid-19.
  • Risk assessment for music making during the Covid-19 pandemic from renowned Performing Arts Medicine researchers in Germany.
  • A report from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra based on research with their musicians which concluded that 'there was no increased risk for musicians playing together in an orchestra as long as they observed at least a metre's distance from each other'.
  • A report published in the Journal of Voice entitled Safer Singing During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: What We Know and What We Don't.
  • There are increasing numbers of relevant peer-reviewed publications becoming available, some of which can be accessed by using search engines such as ‘Google Scholar’ using terms such as ‘COVID-19 among musicians’.