In the context of its “Music Moves Europe” initiative, the European Commission has published the report “The Health and Wellbeing of Professional Musicians and Music Creators in the EU – insights from research for policy and practice”.
The report reveals that the health and well-being of professional musicians and music creators in the EU is vulnerable to several risk factors and that action on many fronts is needed in order to protect them. European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel said:
Professional musicians and music creators operate in a rapidly changing context where music is created, distributed, consumed and monetised in completely new ways. This new landscape puts extra pressure and stress on our music professionals who now need a range of other skills additional to their virtuosity and proficiency. This new reality causes a great deal of concern about their health and wellbeing. This report sheds light on the risks and on the action that is necessary for protecting and enhancing the health, wellbeing and resilience of our music professionals. It is an important step in our effort to improve policy and the lives of the millions of professional musicians and music creators across the EU.
The report is proof of the Commission’s ongoing commitment to supporting the European music sector with knowledge and solutions.
While the report highlights the main risks for the physical and mental health of professional musicians and music creators, it also gives examples of successful interventions and actions (policies and practices) from several EU Member States to address these risks.
It distils key policy lessons from research and provides recommendations for policies and practices that can improve the physical and mental health and safety of musicians and music creators in the EU. In terms of education, prevention and treatment.
Three key messages from the report
A first key message from this report is that, in their actions and policies, national and local authorities should pay attention to all aspects of health and wellbeing of music professionals. This includes the longer term and insidious risks of performance anxiety, loneliness and social anxiety, financial insecurity, physical strain and disorders, noise-induced hearing loss, sleep disorders, vocal damage, substance and alcohol use, vision problems, and depression.
A second key message is that the mental wellbeing of musicians is often overlooked as a topic in tertiary music school curricula. Every higher education music school curriculum should include a substantial and compulsory component on psychological and mental wellbeing risks and prevention. Music school curricula should also pay more attention to music as a profession: notably, how to make a living as a musician in today’s industry.
A third key message from the report is that seeking professional mental and physical therapy is too expensive for most musicians. National, regional and local authorities should ensure that treatments are not excessively expensive for music creators. Where not already in place, authorities should consider developing a system whereby a part of the specific treatment costs for musicians is covered directly by the health insurance system or reimbursed.
About the report
The report is one of the actions of “Music Moves Europe” initiative, which is the framework for EU actions in support of the European music sector. In this context, the 2018-2020 Preparatory Action “Music Moves Europe: Boosting European music diversity and talent” helped the European Commission design targeted support for the music sector in the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027. This report is part of the implementation of that Preparatory Action.