Dr. Eckart Altenmüller will travel to Marshall University Oct. 12 – 15 to give the keynote address for the Center for Wellness in the Arts (CWA) inauguration. Since August 2014, Marshall’s College of Arts and Media and the College of Health Professions have offered performing arts students the chance to work with athletic trainers to prevent injury from occurring during performances through the CWA.
Dr. Altenmüller, director for the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine in Hannover, Germany, holds a master’s degree in classical flute and MD and PhD degrees in neurology and neurophysiology. Altenmüller said it is important to have collaborations of this nature because musicians and other performing artists have special healthcare needs, which frequently are not addressed during training for health professionals.
“The professional life of performing artists is becoming more and more demanding,” Altenmüller said. “From our research we’ve learned strong performance anxiety frequently has its roots in early childhood, in over-demanding parents, low self-esteem and other anxieties. Musicians are like athletes working to their limits, and they need to develop excellent self-management skills to function at such a high level for many decades.”
Altenmüller said during his keynote address, he hopes to encourage the performing arts students to develop their best individual potential.
“We will teach them healthy practice habits, including how to cope with stressors, how to gain self-confidence and recognize unfavorable postures and habits and how to improve them,” Altenmüller said. “They need to learn the importance of taking breaks and physical exercise, mental training, psychological stability and how to integrate self-awareness to prevent burnout and frustration.”
Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Arts and Media, said he believes it will be interesting to see the response to such a progressive focus in medicine for an often-underserved clientele.
“We feel fortunate to introduce our collaborative Center for Wellness in the Arts initiative alongside Dr. Altenmüller, a world-renowned performing arts physician,” Van Horn said. “I think his expertise will lend insight into the importance of this specialty, which addresses a variety of conditions and injuries related to or impacting on an artist’s ability to perform.”
Van Horn said because there are so many performing artists in need of this service, he hopes the future CWA program will include a degree offering.
Dr. Michael Prewitt, dean of the College of Health Professions, said he believes this partnership between health professions and arts and media will be beneficial for all parties.
“We wanted to invite Dr. Altenmüller to Marshall University to create long-term solutions for our campus community in regard to wellness in the arts,” Prewitt said. “We hope to integrate a sustainable program on performing artists and their well-being. We hope Marshall University will eventually be known for this particular collaboration and provide more stimulating opportunities for research with our faculty and students.”
Altenmüller will have the chance to discuss his research with students from the Marshall University Department of Orthopaedics before he travels back home to Germany. Dr. Ali Oliashirazi said Altenmüller will conduct Grand Rounds from 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. Oct. 15.
“It is with great pleasure and honor that we welcome Dr. Altenmüller as our Grand Rounds’ Visiting Professor; he clearly bridges the gap between the arts and sciences.” Oliashirazi said.
Dr. Altenmüller will give his keynote address during the CWA inauguration at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 13 in the Francis-Booth Experimental Theatre in the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center located on Marshall’s Huntington campus. Short speeches will be given by Dean Don Van Horn, theatre professor Nicole Perrone, music professor Henning Vauth, and Dean Michael Prewitt. For more information on the CWA inauguration, visit www.facebook.com/MarshallCWA online or contact special projects coordinator, Beth Caruthers, at email@example.com or 304-696-3296.
All media are invited to cover this inaugural event.