ASTHMA AND MUSIC

M. Mares Chorro

Conservatory of Palma de Mallorca (SPAIN)
According to the World Health Organization, asthma is now a serious public health problem with over 100 million sufferers worldwide. Over 32 million people have asthma in Europe. Of these, over 6 million live with severe symptoms of the disease.

A surprising number of wind players have this disease. Although some players acquired asthma after becoming musicians, a number had taken up wind instrument playing in the hope that such an activity would improve the asthmatic condition. Performance of a wind instrument requires appreciable lung volume and diaphragmatic mechanical force, skilled breath control, adequate patency and humidity of air passages, and precise coordination of the or pharyngeal cavity. Depending on the instrument class, variable rates of air flow, pressure, and duration are necessary to produce optimal tone quality. Wind players may be seriously impaired by respiratory diseases that, comparatively, might appear trivial to the no performer. The workplace environment should be assessed for occupational hazards when managing these patients, and smoking should be particularly discouraged. Controversy exists implicating wind instrument use in the exacerbation of respiratory disease, including bronchial, laryngeal, pharyngeal, and oral anatomic changes. Asthma is the most common chronic pulmonary disorder among wind players, and therapeutic programs that include breath training and physical exercise improve symptoms, endurance, and general well-being.

The following paper makes a review about the different types of asthma, the way of treating it especially from the point of view of the wind musician.



References:

[1] “Music Therapy to Manage Asthma” Robert Eley & Don Gorman.
Aboriginal & islander health worker journal January/February 2008 vol 32 –number 1
[2] “Marks M. Musical and wind instruments in rehabilitation of asthmatic children.” Annals of Allergy. 1974
[3] “Programa del Niño Asmático.” Díaz Vázquez et ali] ISBN 352-95-054-5. (1995). INSALUD. CA