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Unit of study_

MUSC1604: Music, Health and Wellbeing

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Sydney

So how do musicians achieve and maintain their health? This unit of study explores the science of music health and wellbeing through investigation of health promotion, a range of health issues (including mental health) and by giving students practical examples of how to incorporate healthy lifestyle and strategies into their everyday life. It includes a detailed exploration of age-old and millennium debates in the scholarly and practice-based fields of music and health. Topics include: mindfulness; music psychology; Alexander Technique/Yoga/Tai Chi; performance science; growth mindset programs; music therapy; mental health; work-place safety; physiotherapy.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MUSC1604
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jennifer Rowley,
Lecturer(s) Helen Mitchell,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Research method design and written report
40% STUVAC 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Reading portfolios
Reading summaries
15% Week 06 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2
Presentation Poster presentation
A poster presentation
30% Week 11 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Reading portfolio
Reading summaries - one from weeks 1-5 and the other from weeks 6-10.
15% Week 12 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2

Assessment summary

Please note that for any text-based assessed work submitted through Turnitin such as essays or other assignments, you must not include your name or any other identifying information on your assignment.  You may only include your Student Number.  This is to ensure that you are assessed fairly and without bias (as much as is possible).

Assessment criteria

Description of assessment: You will develop a way to implement MHW in an existing cohort. You will develop your written method and prepare your materials to conduct your project. You will prepare a written research proposal for your project.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

As per the Sydney Conservatorium of Music resolutions, (Item 11): (1) It is expected that unless an application for Special Consideration has been approved, students will submit all assessment for a unit of study on the due date specified. If the assessment is completed or submitted within the period of extension, no academic penalty will be applied to that piece of assessment. (2) If an extension is either not sought, not granted or is granted but work is submitted after the extended due date, the late submission of assessment will result in an academic penalty as follows: (a) For work submitted after the deadline but up to three calendar days late, a penalty of 10 per cent of the possible marks awarded for the assignment will apply. (b) For work submitted after 3 days and less than one week after the deadline, a penalty of 15 per cent of the possible marks awarded for the assignment will apply. (c) For work submitted more than one week late but less than two weeks after the deadline, a penalty of 20 per cent of the possible marks awarded for the assignment will apply. (d) Work submitted more than two weeks after deadline will not be assessed (Fail).

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to Music Health and Wellbeing A holistic view on musician's health Helen Mitchell and Jennifer Rowley Seminar (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Musculoskeletal Health for the Rising Musician - performance-related musculoskeletal health and fitness. Music performance posture and biomechanics Cliffton Chan Seminar (2 hr) LO5
Week 03 Health of Music Students: research from Conservatoires Helen Mitchell Seminar (2 hr) LO2
Week 05 Breathing and mindfulness Jennifer Rowley Seminar (2 hr) LO1
Week 07 Healthy Instrumental Set-Up: From an anatomical/biomechanical perspective). Injury Prevention Instrument-specific exercise programs to reduce injury risk Cliffton Chan Seminar (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 11 Poster Presentation Session Seminar (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 Preparing for MHW in musical performance Helen Mitchell and Jennifer Rowley: what would you tell your future self? Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

As per the Sydney Conservatorium of Music resolutions, 12):


Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Veronika Schoeb MHA, P. T., & Amélie Zosso BSc, P. T. (2012). " You Cannot Perform Music Without Taking Care of Your Body": A Qualitative Study on Musicians' Representation of Body and Health. Medical problems of performing artists27(3), 129.


Clark, T., & Lisboa, T. (2013). Training for sustained performance: Moving toward long-term musician development. Medical problems of performing artists28(3), 159-168.


Ginsborg, J., Kreutz, G., Thomas, M., & Williamon, A. (2009). Healthy behaviours in music and non-music performance students. Health Education109(3), 242-258.


Kreutz, G., Ginsborg, J., & Williamon, A. (2008). Music students' health problems and health-promoting behaviours. Medical Problems of Performing Artists23(1), 3.


Lee, S. H., Carey, S., Dubey, R., & Matz, R. (2012). Intervention program in college instrumental musicians, with kinematics analysis of cello and flute playing: a combined program of yogic breathing and muscle strengthening-flexibility exercises. Medical problems of performing artists27(2), 85.


MacDonald, R., Kreutz, G., & Mitchell, L. (2012). Music, health, and wellbeing. Oxford University Press.


Panebianco-Warrens, C. R., Fletcher, L., & Kreutz, G. (2015). Health-promoting behaviors in South African music students: A replication study. Psychology of Music43(6), 779-792.


Williamon, A., Wasley, D., Burt-Perkins, R., Ginsborg, J., & Hildebrandt, W. (2009). Profiling musicians’ health, wellbeing, and performance. In A. Williamon, S. Pretty, & R. Buck (Eds.), Proceedings of the international symposium on performance science. Association of European Conservatoires (AEC).

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Demonstrate broad understanding of music, health and wellbeing studies in music
  • LO2. Critique and write about research literature
  • LO3. Describe research design and evaluate research outcomes
  • LO4. Discuss research with others
  • LO5. Facilitate the exchange of ideas between musicians and researchers

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Participation in this unit of study permits the University to use your learning analytics for the purpose of improving your learning. This includes data from the CANVAS website, and the results of the Unit of Study Survey conducted at the end of the semester


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