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The RSM & BAPAM present: Musicians’ Hands

10:30am – 12:30pm, Wednesday 8th Sep 2021

The RSM & BAPAM Present: Musicians’ Hands with Mark Phillips and Penelope Roskell

The Royal Society of Musicians and BAPAM are working together to present a series of health education workshops for musicians. This exciting series of workshops brings together bring specialist practitioners who are experts in the field of performing arts medicine and offers an opportunity for musicians to understand more about the range of health problems they might experience, how to prevent them and how to get help if it is needed.

Penelope Roskell

Penelope Roskell is an international concert pianist and Professor of Piano and piano pedagogy at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She has many years’ experience of helping injured pianists to resume healthy piano playing and is the Piano educator for the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine, where she conducts a multi-disciplinary pianists’ clinic with hand surgeon Mr Mark Phillips. Although a classical pianist herself, she works at the clinic with injured pianists from all genres, including rock and music theatre.

She has produced a DVD on “Yoga for Musicians” and a book on ‘The Art of Piano Fingering’. Her award-winning book on all aspects of healthy piano playing, The Complete Pianist: from healthy technique to natural artistry, was published in 2020 by Edition Peters.

Penelope recently produced a series of lessons on ‘The pillars of piano technique’ for Tonebase (USA) and is currently preparing online courses for teachers in teaching healthy technique as well as new books on piano technique for beginners, to be published by Peters Edition.

Mark Phillips

Mark began his medical training in Cambridge University. He then trained as a surgeon in south London.

Before becoming a consultant, Mark did fellowships in hand and wrist surgery (Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead) and trauma in the University of Pisa, Italy.

Whilst the majority of his work is general hand and wrist surgery, much of which is related to sport and exercise, He has developed a particular interest in treating hand and wrist problems in musicians. He was very fortunate to inherit much of the hard work previously done by Mr John White and Mr Ian Winspur. Both of these surgeons had spent many years setting up specialist practices for looking after musicians.

As was their experience (and the experience of other hand surgeons in this field), surgical intervention is much less likely to be required in this subspecialty. Whilst many hand surgeons are happy to advise against surgery for about 80% of all their new patients and suggest other treatments, I find that for musicians in my practice this is more like 90% who are well advised to avoid surgery.

Mark is a keen amateur musician himself and plays trumpet and flugelhorn and performs in small jazz groups in South London.

The Royal Society of Musicians

RSM provides vital support to those whose lives have been affected by accident, illness, stress and anxiety. We work with UK-based musicians and their families throughout their careers and into retirement, giving help towards short-term needs as well providing support on a more long-term basis when required. RSM can help towards funding physical and emotional therapies, referrals to specialised practitioners and associated treatments, and potentially the provision of home adaptations or living expenses.

For more information, please visit or to contact us at / 020 7629 6137.

British Association for Performing Arts Medicine

Established 30 years ago, BAPAM is the largest provider of Performing Arts Medicine in the UK with coverage across the four nations and a growing Directory of over 200 approved clinicians, registered with BAPAM. We provide free clinical assessments for performers with health problems effecting their performing arts practice. In 2019, we provided occupational health support to over 2500 enquiries from performing artists, including 1200 clinical assessment appointments. Our support is focused on specialist clinical assessment to determine the correct diagnosis and best care pathway for a performer, providing clinical advice and referring onwards to experts in the field where necessary. In some cases we also able to provide ongoing mental health support. Regulated by the Care Quality Commission, we operate under robust clinical governance and quality assurance frameworks with leadership from our Board and Medical Committee. Performers generally access care via our Helpline, and our (non-clinical) Helpline operators advise on care options and arrange appointments according to approved protocols. We also run a health education programme with free sessions available online and bespoke sessions which can be booked for individual organisations.

You can contact us at; and 0207 404 8444.

Research looking at health issues within the performing arts workforce consistently finds that 70-75% of our population report both mental and physical health problems, which is much higher than the national average. We are lucky to be working with a number of health and wellbeing experts who can offer training to performers across the UK, with the aim of reducing the levels of poor health and supporting performers to have a sustainable career. Working with our partners in The Royal Society of Musicians, Equity, Musicians’ Union, Help Musicians UK and Performing Arts Education Providers. We are expanding our national training programme supporting healthy performance in the UK.