Press Release – Keeping Your Equipment in Shape is Focus of New Publication

Keeping Your “Equipment” in Shape is Focus of New Publication


Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Healthy Playing Now Available From MENC: The National Association for Music Education and Rowman & Littlefield Education


RESTON, VA (December 10, 2007) — Instrumental musicians can and do develop many physical problems that interfere with making music. Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Healthy Playing by Dr. William J. Dawson, an international authority in musicians’ medicine who also is a symphonic musician and teacher, provides current and important health-related information for all instrumentalists, presented in an understandable and readable fashion. This book is published by MENC: The National Association for Music Education and Rowman & Littlefield Education

Dawson includes a section on basic body structure and function, avoiding medical jargon and setting the stage for following chapters. Further topics include disorders caused by playing music: including overuse, muscle strain, and tendonitis. Subsequent chapters discuss conditions common to mature performers and teachers, especially carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and hearing loss. Each chapter provides self-help advice to both musician and music teacher in recognizing problems, seeking medical care, and choosing treatment strategies. Dawson includes information on alternate care disciplines, as well as on rehabilitation and prevention of both common and uncommon conditions that can interfere with practice and performance. The book contains a helpful glossary of medical terms. “Many musicians are reluctant to talk about any medical problems because they fear losing in the competition for their chair or being passed over for some other reason,” Dawson says. He believes the only way musicians will get the kind of help they need is for the profession to look at medical problems in the same ways that athletes do.

“Seldom, if ever before, have the physical concerns of the performing musician been addressed so clearly and so knowledgably. Fit as a Fiddle is an exceptionally well-written and easily understood guide to identifying and addressing virtually every problem associated with musical performance. Dr. Dawson’s book will become a valued and indispensable resource for every performing musician and teacher of music,” said Frederick L. Hemke, DMA, The School of Music, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, in the book’s forward.

William J. Dawson, a retired hand surgeon, is president of the Performing Arts Medicine Association and is a member of the editorial board of its journal. He also is a symphonic bassoonist and private instrumental teacher who serves as medical consultant to the International Double Reed Society and the Association of Concert Bands. He is currently associate professor Emeritus of Orthopaedic Surgery, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician’s Guide to Playing Healthy is available from RLE in paperback for $19.95 and clothbound for $50.00. MENC members receive a discount of 25%. To order or for more information, call 800-462-6420 or visit

MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world’s largest arts education organization, marks its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. More than 130,000 members represent all levels of teaching from preschool to graduate school. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education.