Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



ABSTRACT The purpose of this monograph was two-fold: (1) to bring together a scattered array of literature about performance injury prevention (related to violin/viola support) into one source, organize and synthesize this literature with the intention of identifying principal issues, compare coverage and recommendations, and identify consistencies and inconsistencies; and (2) to assess the perceptions of upper string musicians and teachers about injury prevention in the context of the literature. For the first purpose, a comprehensive bibliography of relevant literature was developed. For the second purpose, a survey based on information revealed through the literature was developed and distributed. Total respondents (N = 61) divided as follows: college professors (n = 20), teachers of pre-college string students (n = 27), and college violin and viola majors (n = 14). The research question was answered by comparing perspectives from the literature to respondents’ perspectives. Five principal issues were identified: medical problems; general considerations; customizing instrument placement; customizing shoulder rests; customizing chin rests. Their coverage was extensive in most sources. Consistencies were revealed regarding the majority of the issues. Inconsistencies were revealed relative to customizing shoulder rests and chin rests. Generally, between literature and survey there was more consistency than expected; in most areas, respondents seem to be aware of problems and possible solutions. Inconsistency was found in details regarding head positioning, and the specific approach used to customize. Based on the results of this study, it was recommended that performance injury and its prevention receive formal, targeted attention in the college curricula of music majors—especially string players and prospective string teachers; that chin rests be sold separately from instruments; that string players’ and teachers’ training include field experiences exposing setup challenges among a variety of student musicians—challenges possibly requiring astute observation, critical thinking, and problem solving; that teachers of large string groups find ways of making meaningful contact with individual students, to remediate setup. Future research might investigate how performers and teachers actually use their knowledge and beliefs in personal practice and in the teaching of students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Lilleslatten, Espen



Included in

Music Commons