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Trial registered on ANZCTR

Registration number
Ethics application status
Date submitted
Date registered
Date last updated
Type of registration
Retrospectively registered

Titles & IDs
Public title
Effectiveness of an Eight Week Intervention of Exercise and Alexander Technique Specifically Designed for Professional Orchestral Musicians – A National Clinical Trial
Scientific title
Professional Orchestral Musicians undertaking an eight week exercise program compared to an eight week Alexander Technique program and controls.
Secondary ID [1] 279924 0
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Trial acronym
Linked study record

Health condition
Health condition(s) or problem(s) studied:
Performance related musculoskeletal disorders 285836 0
Instrumental Playing Posture 285837 0
Condition category
Condition code
Public Health 286017 286017 0 0
Physical Medicine / Rehabilitation 286018 286018 0 0

Study type
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
35min exercise class, twice weekly, for eight weeks exercise program specifically designed for professional orchestral musicians. This program consists of 5mins of warm-ups, 25mins of progressive exercises targeting common performance-related musculoskeletal injuries and pain regions (ie. cervical & thoracic spine, shoulder & the upper limb, lumbopelvic region). This program will be supervised by an experienced physiotherapist that has also attained clinical pilates qualifications.

Participants are encouraged to undertake both interventions with a one-month wash out period between the interventions. Participants have the choice of opting out at the end of each intervention. The order of intervention at each of the eight orchestra will be determined using an electronic randomisation system.
Intervention code [1] 284250 0
Intervention code [2] 284251 0
Comparator / control treatment
Two groups of comparator to the musician specific exercise intervention. A group of participants will undertake Alexander Technique intervention for the same period of time as the Musician Specific Exercise Program (35min classes, twice weekly, for 8 weeks). This program was designed by a qualified Alexander Technique teacher and includes basic skeletal anatomy, postural education from the Alexander principals perspective, movement patterns in activities of daily living and applying principals of Alexander in instrumental playing. Qualified Alexander Technique teachers with additional training to deliver this specific program will be supervising the classes.

A group of controls (no intervention) will be used as well.
Control group

Primary outcome [1] 286513 0
Intensity and Frequency of Performance Related Musculoskeletal Disorders using a 0-10 VAS Scale
Timepoint [1] 286513 0
Post-intervention (8 weeks) and Short Term Follow Up in 6 months.
Primary outcome [2] 286514 0
Perceived exertion of effort during private practice, rehearsals and stage performance using a modified BORG scale (6-20).
Timepoint [2] 286514 0
Post-intervention (8 weeks) and Short Term Follow Up in 6 months.
Secondary outcome [1] 296053 0
Patient Perceived Effort of the Exercise Program & Alexander on posture, ease of movement, ability to cope with anxiety during work and non-work environments, confidence, energy levels, concentration using a 5 point scale.
Timepoint [1] 296053 0
Post-intervention (8 weeks) and Short Term Follow Up in 6 months.
Secondary outcome [2] 296127 0
Independent blinded evaluation of playing posture photographs before and after each trial
Timepoint [2] 296127 0
Photos taken pre-intervention and immediately post-intervention (8 weeks later)

Key inclusion criteria
Full time position with one of the eight orchestras of Australia (Adelaide Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, West Australian Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Opera Victoria, Australian Opera and Ballet, Queensland Symphony).
Minimum age
18 Years
Maximum age
No limit
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
A current major musculoskeletal injury that involves workcover compensation or that was excluded from study participation by a treating medical practitioner.

Study design
Purpose of the study
Allocation to intervention
Non-randomised trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment procedures)
Allocation is not concealed
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence generation)
Allocation is not concealed
Masking / blinding
Open (masking not used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?

Intervention assignment
Other design features
Combination of cross-over and single group assignment design as not all participants completed both exercise and Alexander Technique interventions.
Type of endpoint(s)
Statistical methods / analysis

Recruitment status
Date of first participant enrolment
Date of last participant enrolment
Date of last data collection
Sample size
Accrual to date
Recruitment in Australia
Recruitment state(s)

Funding & Sponsors
Funding source category [1] 284703 0
Government body
Name [1] 284703 0
Australian Research Council
Address [1] 284703 0
Level 2, 11 Lancaster Place
Majura Park ACT 2609
Country [1] 284703 0
Funding source category [2] 284704 0
Commercial sector/Industry
Name [2] 284704 0
Australia Council of the Arts
Address [2] 284704 0
372 Elizabeth Street (cnr Cooper Street)
Surry Hills NSW 2010
Country [2] 284704 0
Primary sponsor type
Dr Bronwen Ackermann
Discipline of Biomedical Science, Room L115, Building C42, Cumberland Campus, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW 2141.
Secondary sponsor category [1] 283604 0
Name [1] 283604 0
A/Prof Tim Driscoll
Address [1] 283604 0
Edward Ford Building, School of Public Health, Camperdown Campus, The University of Sydney, NSW 2005.
Country [1] 283604 0
Other collaborator category [1] 260541 0
Name [1] 260541 0
Mr Cliffton Chan
Address [1] 260541 0
Discipline of Biomedical Science, Building C42, Cumberland Campus, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW 2141.
Country [1] 260541 0

Ethics approval
Ethics application status
Ethics committee name [1] 286711 0
Human Research Ethics Committee
Ethics committee address [1] 286711 0
Level 6
Jane Foss Russell Building G02
University of Sydney NSW 2006
Ethics committee country [1] 286711 0
Date submitted for ethics approval [1] 286711 0
Approval date [1] 286711 0
Ethics approval number [1] 286711 0

Brief summary
The purpose of this study is to trial a specific exercise program to support the musician's playing actions and movement patterns, and examine any effects on pain. Information collected relating to changes in frequency and intensity of Performance-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders will be used to evaluate the effects of the exercise or Alexander technique programs and these results will be compared to the control group. Data obtained on playing postures, playing techniques and perceived exertion will also be evaluated for differences between the pre-intervention and post-intervention conditions.
Trial website
Trial related presentations / publications
Chan, C., Driscoll, T. and Ackermann, B.J., 2014. Effect of a Musicians' Exercise Intervention on Performance-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders [AGB Award 2014]. Medical problems of performing artists, 29(4), p.181.

Chan, C., Driscoll, T. and Ackermann, B., Can experienced observers detect postural changes in professional musicians after interventions?.
Public notes

Principal investigator
Name 33766 0
Dr Cliffton Chan
Address 33766 0
Discipline of Biomedical Science, School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW, 2141
Country 33766 0
Phone 33766 0
Fax 33766 0
Email 33766 0
Contact person for public queries
Name 17013 0
A/Prof Dr Bronwen Ackermann
Address 17013 0
Discipline of Biomedical Science, Room L115, Building C42, Cumberland Campus, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW 2141.
Country 17013 0
Phone 17013 0
+61 2 9351 9472
Fax 17013 0
Email 17013 0
Contact person for scientific queries
Name 7941 0
A/Prof Dr Bronwen Ackermann
Address 7941 0
Discipline of Biomedical Science, Room L115, Building C42, Cumberland Campus, The University of Sydney, 75 East St, Lidcombe, NSW 2141.
Country 7941 0
Phone 7941 0
+61 2 9351 9472
Fax 7941 0
Email 7941 0

No data has been provided for results reporting
Summary results
Have study results been published in a peer-reviewed journal?
Other publications
Have study results been made publicly available in another format?
Results – basic reporting
Results – plain English summary