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LaRae Murray, Class of 2014

The Effects of Tension Management Techniques on Muscle Activation in Violinists
The purpose of this residency project was two-fold. One goal of the project was to implement a pre- and post-test research study to determine the effectiveness of tension management techniques on upper trapezius muscle activity in violinists and to determine if listeners have a preference for the less or more tense performance. The second goal of the project was to educate college violinists and music education majors about strategies they can use to help prevent tension, pain, and injury.  Nine participants participated in the research study and 11 music students attended the educational presentation at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.  The results of the research study indicated that the tension management techniques may be effective in reducing muscle activity of the right upper trapezius (bow arm) of violinists.  No significant decrease was seen in the left upper trapezius, though future studies may benefit from a longer intervention time period.  Listeners’ mean preferences for musical performance and timbre between pre- and post-test musical samples indicate that there is not a consensus on preference related to tension.

LaRae Murray, Resident

School of Occupational Therapy
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