Jan 24, 2021

Health Literacy and Health Education Mobility for Musicians: a global approach


This project aims to build a global research network to address both health education mobility and health literacy for musicians worldwide. Music participation is widely acknowledged to have health benefits across the lifespan and to diminish cultural divides.

Paradoxically, despite its global popularity and community benefits, the act of making music involves highly repetitive actions under psychologically demanding conditions. Research indicates this may result in high injury risk for musicians, irrespective of age, musical style, genre, or cultural background. It is essential for health promotion to become embedded in the education of musicians to improve health outcomes and career sustainability over their lifespan.

Musicians’ Health Literacy Consortium
A result of this project is the formation of the Musicians’ Health Literacy Consortium, an interdisciplinary, multicultural research network focused on developing innovative, sustainable, effective, and accessible approaches to musicians’ health education in higher education settings.

The network builds on existing international collaborations between Australian and Canadian researchers, adding experienced researchers from the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, to form a global perspective on this important public health issue. All team members have substantial track records in health education and research for musicians, yet they have different but complementary expertise and skillsets. It is comprised of both senior and early career researchers.


To initiate this research program, team members met for two intensive collaborative workshops at the University of Western Australia and Maastricht University in 2018 to facilitate dialogue, develop collaborative research sub-strands, promote researcher mobility, and allow for the exchange of regional perspectives on the issue of musicians’ health education.

In 2019

Academic Publications

  • Baadjou, V., et al. (2019). Health education literacy and accessibility for musicians: a global approach. Report from the Worldwide Universities Network project. Medical Problems of Performing Artists 34/2:105-107.

Scholarly events

  • Performing Arts Medicine Association Annual Symposium, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, 30 June, 2019: Development and design of the Musicians’ Health Literacy Questionnaire (MHL-Q19)  – delivered to international experts in the field of performing arts medicine by Prof Jane Ginsborg
  • International Symposium on Performance Science, Melbourne, Australia, 19 July, 2019: Development and design of the Musicians’ Health Literacy Questionnaire (MHL-Q19)  –  delivered by Assoc/Prof Suzanne Wijsman to international experts from multi-disciplinary performing arts science fields.

In 2018

Academic Publications

  • Wijsman, S. and Ackermann, B. Educating Australian Musicians: Are we playing it safe? Health Promotion International. May 17 2018. doi: 10.1093/heapro/day030

Scholarly events

  • Health Education Literacy and Mobility for Musicians: a global approach, Workshop 1-Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Western Australia,11-15 April 2018. 9 academics participated, presented their work, and collaborated on planning the large-scale research program for our network.
  • Health Education Literacy and Mobility for Musicians: a global approach, Workshop 2-Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Maastricht University, 27-31 August 2018. 10 academics participated, including invited consultants from Maastricht University, to collaborate and finalise the large-scale research program designed by our team.


  • Creation of the Musicians Health Literacy Consortium, a new globally-oriented network focused on improving musicians’ health literacy through health education.
  • Development, design & face validity testing of the Musicians Health Literacy Questionnaire (MHL-Q19) being pilot tested in 2019 with music students at partner institutions. A co-authored publication is in process.

Selected outcomes

1) Design of an international, collaborative research program that will seek:

  • Solutions to improving health literacy and health education mobility for musicians
  • Approaches to embed health education into teaching practice for musicians in higher education using IT delivery
  • To test the efficacy of settings-based applications of online health education in varied cultural contexts

2) Collective applications for research funding to sustain the research sub-strands that emerge from this collaboration


3) Jointly authored publications


4) Expansion of this core network to include additional potential partnerships with both industry and education sectors


5) Provide mentorship and opportunities for involved early-career researchers


The focus of this research program will be on researching musicians’ health literacy and developing flexible approaches to embedding health education into core music teaching in higher education settings in different cultural contexts, and the use of IT delivery as a mechanism to make this widely available to musicians, music organisations and educational institutions worldwide.

It thus has the potential to impact positively on the health challenges currently affecting musicians on a wide scale, and to promote urgently needed cultural and policy changes in music teaching and learning in higher education at a global level.