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The Playing without Pain workshop is a one day presentation on the causes, prevention and management of musicians' injuries.



The morning session is presented in a lecture format, beginning with a brief statistical overview of surveys addressing musicians' injuries. Christine then shares her injury “saga”, describing both the physical and psychological aspects of dealing with injury. Barbara completes the first session by teaching basic anatomy for lay people, using visual aids and our resident skeleton “Fred” to make this fascinating subject clear and understandable. This portion of the workshop enables musicians to comprehend why and how most common injuries occur.

The second half of the workshop is designed to relate the participants' new understanding of the scientific principles of injury prevention and management to their day-to-day lives as musicians. Stretches and exercises necessary for the prevention of injury are taught. We discuss practical ways of coping with the daily demands of studying, performing and teaching. Topics covered can range from warming up to on-stage stretching, surviving Wagner to general fitness and cross-training. Playing posture and ergonomics are emphasized in this portion of the workshop which can be tailored to suit the size and makeup of each group. This second section involves individual and group participation. This invariably generates great enthusiasm, lively discussion and endless questions.

By the end of the day we have bombarded participants with new information and ideas and hopefully erased a lot of myths and stigma associated with musicians' injuries. Players without injuries will learn how to stay healthy. Teachers are given insight into how to help their students avoid injury. Players who are already hurt leave with renewed hope and the information necessary to ensure that the care they receive is appropriate.

As the “Playing without Pain” workshop is aimed at teaching, rather than treating, individual in-depth assessments are not appropriate. Injured players are able to volunteer to be “guinea pigs” for the group, which will give them more insight into their particular problems. Private Consultations can be arranged after the workshop or later at the Clinic in Stouffville.

Playing without Pain is an innovative workshop dealing with injury prevention and management for musicians. Barbara Paull and Christine Harrison designed this program in 1992 and have presented their workshop to musicians in various venues, including:
  • 37th International Viola Congress, Stellenbosch - South Africa 2009
  • Sir William Osler Health Care Centre, Hamilton, Canada
  • University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
  • Niagara Youth Orchestra, St. Catharines, Canada
  • State University of New York, Buffalo, U.S.A.
  • University of Toronto (combined Faculty of Music/Faculty of Medicine presentation), Toronto, Canada
  • Chamber Music Day Camp, Thornhill, Canada
  • American String Teachers Conference, Rochester, U.S.A.
  • The Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Canada
  • Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, England
  • F.N.V. Musicians' Union, at Amsterdam, Zwolle and Utrecht, Holland
  • Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver, Canada
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, England
  • I.S.S.T.I.P. Conference, 1999, London, England
  • XXVII International Viola Congress, Guelph, Canada
  • London Youth Symphony/University of Western Ontario, London, Canada
  • Kincardine, Ontario, Canada
  • Humber College of Music, Toronto, Canada
  • Maggini String Course, Harrogate, U.K.
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham, U.K.
  • The Clarinet Summer School, Hope University, Liverpool, U.K.
  • Bahen Centre, University of Toronto, Canada

Paull and Harrison have also presented their seminars to health care professionals at:

  • York County Hospital, Newmarket, Canada
  • Oakville/Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, Oakville, Canada
  • Soldier's Memorial Hospital, Orillia, Canada
  • Women's College Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  • Ontario Physiotherapy Association, Oshawa, Canada
  • Ontario Physiotherapy Association Annual Convention, Ottawa, Canada
  • Ontario Physiotherapy Association, Scarborough District, Canada

They have presented papers on the subject of musicians' injuries at:

  • Science and Art of Physiotherapy International Conference, Hong Kong (1993)
  • 12th World Congress of the International Federation of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Sydney, Australia (1995)
  • 1st World Congress in Neurological Rehabilitation, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England (1996)
  • Health and the Musician International Conference, University of York, England (1997)
  • World Congress on Whiplash-Associated Disorders, Vancouver, Canada (1999)

View the comments from past attendees of the
"Playing without Pain" Workshop