For this week’s Beyond the Notes session, PYSO was joined by Michael Tsang, who not only holds a PhD. in Physical Therapy but is also a PYSO alum! Dr. Tsang played piano in PYSO from 2007-2011 before completing a dual degree program at Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Institute of Music (getting his B.A in Biology and his B.M. in Piano Performance). In 2016 Dr. Tsang continued his studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he received his PhD. in Physical Therapy. He is currently at UPMC Rooney/Fu Sports Medicine Center studying in the Orthopedic Residency Program.

Dr. Tsang shared a wealth of information regarding pain and injuries specific to musicians. His presentation took a detailed look at the topic, going over common injuries and terminology. To highlight the importance of an often-overlooked issue, he stated that while 67% of college age musicians report having performance related musculoskeletal disorders and pain, less than 25% will seek medical attention. This poses serious physical, psychological, and social impacts on collegiate and professional musicians. 

Dr. Tsang also highlighted the primary locations where musicians experience pain and defined common terms used to describe these injuries. He emphasized that although these medical diagnoses can sound intimidating, it is important to understand them and be able to describe them so that injuries can be effectively prevented and treated. 

Dr. Tsang shared many different health tips to help prevent injuries, such as: scheduling “breaks” into practice periods;  cross-training exercises (aerobic, stretching, strength); proper nutrition; adequate sleep; and being able to communicate symptoms accurately and clearly to health care professionals. The presentation ended with a very helpful Q & A session, where Dr. Tsang generously shared his expertise. 

Many thanks to Michael Tsang for taking the time to bring light to such an important topic for musicians! 

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