Centre for Human Performance and Health Promotion

Centre for Human Performance and Health Promotion. Located in Hamilton, it was in 1990 Canada's only medical clinic specializing in the treatment of music-performance-related injury.

Centre for Human Performance and Health Promotion

Centre for Human Performance and Health Promotion. Located in Hamilton, it was in 1990 Canada's only medical clinic specializing in the treatment of music-performance-related injury. With the prompting of the OCSM it was co-founded by Hamilton Philharmonic violist Marie Peebles and John Chong (MD, environmental and occupational health specialist, pianist, composer, and in the early 1970s a researcher for Hugh Le Caine) at McMaster University in July 1986 as the McMaster Musicians' Clinic. Its association with McMaster University ended in Februrary 1990, at which time the clinic changed its name and became part of the Sir William Osler Health Institute in Hamilton.

The clinic has offered treatment in consultation with specialists in physical medicine, including orthopedic surgery, physical and occupational therapy, audiology, psychiatry and others. One of some 20 such clinics established in North America in the 1980s to provide specialized medical treatment for musicians to avoid misdiagnosis and inappropriate therapy, it has researched the high incidence of injury to instrumentalists and singers resulting from over use, including neck and back problems, nerve entrapment (carpal tunnel) syndrome, various forms of tendonitis, temporomandibular-joint dysfunction, hearing loss, focal dystonia, and performance anxiety. Treatment has taken a holistic approach, seeking to educate patients in body awareness and movement, and to promote life-long preventive behaviour to avoid career-threatening illness. Clients have included teachers and classical and pop musicians - professional and amateur - and have been counselled on depression during recovery and performance anxiety in general. Some 1500 instrumentalists and singers had attended the Centre by 1990.

The Centre has held workshops for the Hamilton Philharmonic, the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, the NYO, Symphony Nova Scotia, the Montreal International Music Festival, OCSM, the RCMT, the University of Toronto, Queen's University, McGill University, St Francis Xavier University, Laval University, and Dalhousie University. In 1990 the Centre broadened its arts medicine services to visual artists and dancers.

Jean-Paul Despins.also has been active in the field of music and medicine.


Further Reading

  • Chong, John, et al. 'Occupational health problems of musicians,' Canadian Family Physician, vol 35, Nov 1989

    Knox, Roger. 'Music medicine in 1990s,' Music, vol 13, Apr-May 1990

    Kelly, Deirdre. 'Risky business,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 11 Aug 1990