University of South Florida

The best of performing arts and medicine come together at interdisciplinary conference

Faculty, professional, educators and health care experts came together recently to learn more about how to improve and promote the well-being of performing artists, as part of the annual USF-Performing Arts Medicine Conference, held March 25 to 27 at the Barness Recital Hall in the USF School of Music.

“The USF-PAMC is an interprofessional group, all self-guided, probably the only such organization at the University with the area professionals in the community,” said Dr. Sang-Hie Lee, director of USF-Performing Arts Medicine Collaborative and professor of music, piano, and pedagogy in the USF School of Music.

This year’s event included three interprofessional panels, 10 presentations, five workshops, two masterclasses, a yoga session, and Noraxon demonstration.

One keynote speaker at the conference was Alan Lockwood, MD, FAAN, FANA, Emeritus Professor of Neurology and Nuclear Medicine at the University at Buffalo. In his keynote titled “Health and Performing Arts: Legacy,” Dr. Lockwood gave an overview of the origins of the integration of performing arts into the medical field.

Dr. Alan Lockwood.

“The session about mindfulness is all about getting you away from the biomechanics of how you use your fingers to play the note that you want to be played, to looking deeper inside of your body and your experience, and how what you are doing is affecting the creative aspects of making music,” Dr. Lockwood said.

City-based pianist Madeline Bruser hosted the interprofessional panel “Unleashing Musical Potential Through Mindfulness” providing insight into how mindfulness helps musicians release physical and mental tension to transform their performing and expressive capacities. Bruser has taught musicians from six continents, both in-person and online.

Madeline Bruser.

On Sunday, March 27, a luncheon for attendees, campus and community thought leaders, decision-makers, and stakeholders was held, along with a panel that included USF President Rhea H. Law, as well as multiple deans supportive of the Performing Arts Medicine Collective initiative. Top researchers and contributors from across the country discussed the importance of the well-being of performing artists and shared their experiences with the audience and each other.

“This conference is an opportunity to learn from each other, get the advantage of the experience of other people who are working in this field,” Dr. Lockwood said.

“What we really would like to do here is look at how to build a more sustainable performing arts medicine center here at USF, that has this overlap between the arts and between health, and serves the student population, serves beyond those walls, serves the community,” said Merry Lynn Morris MFA, PhD, assistant director for USF’s Dance Program. “My vision is to see more people mentally and physically healthy as artists. The healthier we can make our training, the healthier we can make our mental and physical approaches to those trainings, to create healthy behaviors in young artists.”

Merry Lynn Morris, Rhea Law, and Sang-Hie Lee.

Story, photos and video by Ryan Rossy, USF Health Communications and Marketing






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