Health Promotions in Schools of Music

2004 Conference | Sponsors | University of North Texas | Performing Arts Medical Association

Music Education Liaison

Hearing Health

Vocal Health
PreConference Report 1
Preconference Report 2
Postconference Report


Mental Health
Teacher Stresses


Chair: Hildegard Froehlich, University of North Texas

Panel Members    

Peggy Bennett, Oberlin Conservatory
Christian Bernhard, SUNY Fredonia
Jana Fallin, Kansas State University
Roger Warner, University of North Texas
Steve Zdzsinki, University of Miami


What the  Airlines Taught Us      
An  Analogy     

“In the case of loss of cabin pressure, put the mask on yourself first before helping your child/someone else”

1. From the beginning of the deliberations via the Internet, the panel agreed, based upon some input received from Leon Thurman, that one of the challenges in dealing with mental wellness in the context of physical and physiological wellness of musicians, is the Cartesian mind-body split postmodernists try to overcome. The panel points out however that the presentations during the conference confirmed the difficulty of thinking past such a split: For the sake of analysis we separate what in reality should not and cannot be separated.

Diagram12. Connected to the Cartesian mind-body split is the split of mind over matter.  It has had an unfortunate impact on the way we talk about music as an abstraction of what is good and wholesome. Music is innately “good.” It cannot do any harm. Historically, music educators have embraced this viewpoint as a nearly inalienable part of justifying music in the curriculum.  It ignores that music is NOT in itself good, that it is only as wholesome as are the people who use it, and that it CAN do harm. Like mathematicians, we must deal with the negative as an integral part of the system. It IS part of the equation.

3. The panel concurs with all recommendations made by the mental health experts (see pp. …) for
preventive actions to be taken by students, faculty, and colleges. The recommendations are complete and appropriate. The panel urges adoption of all recommendations.

4. The panel focused its report on the Faculty portion of the recommendations because “all of us are responsible for the health and wellness of all of us” (Bennett):

A. our own stresses can cause our students harm;

B. our own bouts of burnouts can cause our students to be stressed, to experience burn-out;

C. our own lack of mental wellness as professionals can stop our students to live up to their full potential.                                          


5.  The panel suggests to separate between intra-, inter-personal, and musical wellness.

Intra-personal wellness:  Teacher burnout, stress
Inter-personal wellness:  Teacher-student relationships, constructive communication with peers and school administrators 
Music wellness: Balancing diverse musical and educational standards and expectations