Dr Bronwen Ackermann

Senior Lecturer
Biomedical Sciences, School of Medical Sciences

Telephone +61 2 9519 4084

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Biographical details

Dr Bronwen Ackermann is a physiotherapist whose interest in performing arts health grew as a result of working with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 1995. She has worked extensively with performing artists since the 1990s, with her clinical and research work focussed on musicians' injuries. She received a Churchill fellowship in 2002 allowing her to spend time with international colleagues involved in both research and clinical work in the field of music medicine. Her PhD was completed in 2003 looking at performance-related musculoskeletal injuries in violinists. Since then she has been conducting research into musicians injuries focussing on performance-related injury prevention, performance-related injury assessment and management, optimising performance through enhancing physical and pscyhological well-being, and understanding the anatomical and physiological mechanisms underpinning musical performance. She joined academia in mid 2006 and works in the Sydney Medical School teaching functional musculoskeletal anatomy. She has run several large national musicians health projects including an ARC linkage grant investigation developing evidence-based guidelines for best management of occupational injuries occurring in musicians('Sound Practice'), and an ALTC national music health curriculum initiative in collaboration with colleague Associate Professor Suzanne Wijsman from the University of Western Australia ('Sound Performers'). She was the inaugural president of the Australian Society for Performing Arts healthcare and is the Chair of the International Liaison Committee and the Education Committee of the USA based Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). She has presented nationally and internationally to many orchestras, health professionals and music organisations about evidence-based principles of injury prevention and management for musicians.

Research interests

Musicians physiology, music performance biomechanics, injury preventon, health promotion and health care provision research, development of evidence-based clinical assessments.

Teaching and supervision

Applied and functional musculoskeletal anatomy

Clinical assessment and management of musculoskeletal conditions

Injury prevention and management for musicians

Evidence-based occupational health interventions

Current projects

Sound Practice - a 5 year ARC backed occupational health project with 8 major state Orchestras of Australia. development of evidence-based guidleines to inform musicians' WHS strategies

Providing health professional consultation to the Australian National Academy of Music Health and Well-being program, as well as evaluating and using evidence to modify HWB program compenents.

Evaluation of the physiological benefts of warm-up in violinists

Investigating the health benefits of participation in music training

Awards and honours

Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow - 2002

In the media

Selected grants

2009

  • Sound practice: Supporting sustainable careers in orchestral musicians through occupational health and safety initiatives; Ackermann B, Kenny D, Driscoll T; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Linkage Projects (LP).

2007

  • 25th symposium of medical problems of musicians and dancers - Aspen June 2007; Ackermann B; Ian Potter Foundation/Grants & Travel Grants.
  • International Conference Travel Grant; Ackermann B; Ian Potter Foundation/Grants & Travel Grants.
  • International Conference Travel Grant; Ackermann B; University of Sydney/Faculty of Health Science Cumberland Research Grants.

2002

  • Winston Churchill Fellowship; Ackermann B; Winston Churchill Memorial Trust/Winston Churchill Fellowship.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2014). Optimising Physical and Psychological Health in Performing Musicians. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Ackermann, B., Kenny, D. (2009). Musical performance. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, (pp. 321-400). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2009). Optimizing physical and psychological health in performing musicians. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, (pp. 390-400). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Journals

  • Evans, A., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). A Delphi survey on diagnosis and management of stress velopharyngeal insufficiency in wind musicians. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(5), 445-455. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Ackermann, B. (2014). Evidence-informed physical therapy management of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders in musicians. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 706. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). Exercise DVD effect on musculoskeletal disorders in professional orchestral musicians. Occupational Medicine, 64(1), 23-30. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2014). Hearing and hearing conservation practices among Australias professional orchestral musicians. Noise and Health, 16(70), 189-195. [More Information]
  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2014). Performance-related Musculoskeletal Pain, Depression and Music Performance Anxiety in Professional Orchestral Musicians: A Population Study. Psychology of Music, Article in press. [More Information]
  • Kenny, D., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). Psychological well-being in professional orchestral musicians in Australia: A descriptive population study. Psychology of Music, 42(2), 210-232. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., O'Dwyer, N., Halaki, M. (2014). The difference between standing and sitting in 3 different seat inclinations on abdominal muscle activity and chest and abdominal expansion in woodwind and brass musicians. Frontiers in Psychology, 2014 (5), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). The use of an exercise DVD for Professional Orchestral Musicians. Occupational Medicine, 64(1), 23-30. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Wood, J., Ackermann, B. (2013). Assessment of an acoustic screen used for sound exposure management in a professional orchestra. Acoustics Australia, 41(2), 146-150.
  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2013). Attitudes and practices of parents of teenage musicians to health issues related to playing an instrument: a pilot study. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 28(1), 24-27. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Development of a specific exercise programme for professional orchestral musicians. Injury Prevention, 19(4), 257-263. [More Information]
  • Rickert, D., Barrett, M., Ackermann, B. (2013). Injury and the orchestral environment: part I. The role of work organisation and psychosocial factors in injury risk. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 28(4), 219-229.
  • Kenny, D., Fortune, J., Ackermann, B. (2013). Predictors of music performance anxiety during skilled performance in tertiary flute players. Psychology of Music, 41(3), 306-328. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Sound exposure of professional orchestral musicians during solitary practice. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(4), 2748-2754. [More Information]
  • Rickert, D., Halaki, M., Ginn, K., Barrett, M., Ackermann, B. (2013). The use of fine-wire EMG to investigate shoulder muscle recruitment patterns during cello bowing: The results of a pilot study. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 23(6), 1261-1268. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). The usefulness of on-site physical therapy-led triage services for professional orchestral musicians - a national cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 14, 1-9. [More Information]
  • Rickert, D., Barrett, M., Halaki, M., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). A study of right shoulder injury in collegiate and professional orchestral cellists: An investigation using questionnaires and physical assessment. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 27(2), 65-73. [More Information]
  • Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). Applied Musculoskeletal Assessment: Results from a Standardised Physical Assessment in a National Population of Professional Orchestral Musicians. Rheumatology: Current Research, S2, 1-7. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). Hearing Conservation and Noise Management Practices in Professional Orchestras. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 9(10), 602-608. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T., Kenny, D. (2012). Musculoskeletal pain and injury in professional orchestral musicians in Australia. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 27(4), 181-187. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Kenny, D., Fortune, J. (2011). Incidence of injury and attitudes to injury management in skilled flute players. Work, 40(3), 255-259. [More Information]
  • Evans, A., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2011). Prevalence of velopharyngeal insufficiency in woodwind and brass students. Occupational Medicine, 61(7), 480-482. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2010). Development of a New Instrument for Measuring the Musculoskeletal Load and Physical Health of Professional Orchestral Musicians. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 25(3), 95-101. [More Information]
  • Evans, A., Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2010). Functional anatomy of the soft palate applied to wind playing. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 25(4), 183-189. [More Information]
  • Ahn-Kim, Y., Chesky, K., Ackermann, B., Likar, A., Kadel, N., Stasney, C. (2009). The updated PAMA website: redesigning a webpage through communication within an organization. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 21(3), 145-149.
  • Kolodziej, I., Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2007). Discrimination of cello string height: musicianship and sex. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104(2), 510-518.
  • Kolodziej, I., Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2007). Discrimination of cello string height: Musicianship and sex. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104(2), 510-518. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2005). Finger movement discrimination in focal hand dystonia: Case study of a cellist. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 20(2), 77-81.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Kolodziej, I. (2005). Musicians health issues- Focus on hand dystonia. Stringendo, 27(1), 34-34.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2004). Interobserver Reliability Of General Practice Physiotherapists In Rating Aspects Of The Movement Patterns Of Skilled Violinists. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 19(1), 3-11.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2004). Perceptions Of Causes Of Performance-Related Injuries By Music Health Experts And Injured Violinists. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 99(2), 669-678. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2003). Physical characteristics and pain patterns of skilled violinists. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 18(2), 65-71.
  • Ackermann, B. (2002). Managing the musculoskeletal health of musicians on tour. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(2), 63-67.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Marshall, E. (2002). Strength or endurance training for undergraduate music majors at a university. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(2), 33-41.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Marshall, E. (2002). The effect of scapula taping on electromyographic activity and musical performance in professional violinists. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 48(3), 197-203.

Conferences

  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Can experienced observers detect postural changes in professional muscians after interventions? International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, Brussels, Belgium: Association Européenne des Conservatoires.
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2011). Development of a Specific Evidence-based Injury Prevention Exercise Program for Professional Orchestral Musicians. Third National Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) conference, Brisbane: APA.
  • Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B., Kenny, D. (2009). Injury surveillance in orchestral musicians. 9th National Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion 2009, Australia: Safety Institute Australia.
  • Kenny, D., Fortune, J., Ackermann, B. (2009). What predicts performance excellence in tertiary level music students? 2nd International Symposium on Performance Science ISPS 2009, The Netherlands: European Association of Conservatoires (AEC).
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2002). Physical measures with between-limb asymmetry in skilled violinists. From Cell to Society 3, Sydney: The College of Health Sciences.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2002). Reliability of physiotherapists in observing functional movements of the upper limb used in violin playing from videotaped footage. VIIth International Physiotherapy Congress, Sydney: Australian Physiotherapy Association.

2014

  • Evans, A., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). A Delphi survey on diagnosis and management of stress velopharyngeal insufficiency in wind musicians. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(5), 445-455. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Ackermann, B. (2014). Evidence-informed physical therapy management of performance-related musculoskeletal disorders in musicians. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 706. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). Exercise DVD effect on musculoskeletal disorders in professional orchestral musicians. Occupational Medicine, 64(1), 23-30. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2014). Hearing and hearing conservation practices among Australias professional orchestral musicians. Noise and Health, 16(70), 189-195. [More Information]
  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2014). Optimising Physical and Psychological Health in Performing Musicians. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2014). Performance-related Musculoskeletal Pain, Depression and Music Performance Anxiety in Professional Orchestral Musicians: A Population Study. Psychology of Music, Article in press. [More Information]
  • Kenny, D., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). Psychological well-being in professional orchestral musicians in Australia: A descriptive population study. Psychology of Music, 42(2), 210-232. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., O'Dwyer, N., Halaki, M. (2014). The difference between standing and sitting in 3 different seat inclinations on abdominal muscle activity and chest and abdominal expansion in woodwind and brass musicians. Frontiers in Psychology, 2014 (5), 1-9. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2014). The use of an exercise DVD for Professional Orchestral Musicians. Occupational Medicine, 64(1), 23-30. [More Information]

2013

  • O'Brien, I., Wood, J., Ackermann, B. (2013). Assessment of an acoustic screen used for sound exposure management in a professional orchestra. Acoustics Australia, 41(2), 146-150.
  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2013). Attitudes and practices of parents of teenage musicians to health issues related to playing an instrument: a pilot study. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 28(1), 24-27. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Can experienced observers detect postural changes in professional muscians after interventions? International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, Brussels, Belgium: Association Européenne des Conservatoires.
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Development of a specific exercise programme for professional orchestral musicians. Injury Prevention, 19(4), 257-263. [More Information]
  • Rickert, D., Barrett, M., Ackermann, B. (2013). Injury and the orchestral environment: part I. The role of work organisation and psychosocial factors in injury risk. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 28(4), 219-229.
  • Kenny, D., Fortune, J., Ackermann, B. (2013). Predictors of music performance anxiety during skilled performance in tertiary flute players. Psychology of Music, 41(3), 306-328. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). Sound exposure of professional orchestral musicians during solitary practice. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 134(4), 2748-2754. [More Information]
  • Rickert, D., Halaki, M., Ginn, K., Barrett, M., Ackermann, B. (2013). The use of fine-wire EMG to investigate shoulder muscle recruitment patterns during cello bowing: The results of a pilot study. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 23(6), 1261-1268. [More Information]
  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2013). The usefulness of on-site physical therapy-led triage services for professional orchestral musicians - a national cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 14, 1-9. [More Information]

2012

  • Rickert, D., Barrett, M., Halaki, M., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). A study of right shoulder injury in collegiate and professional orchestral cellists: An investigation using questionnaires and physical assessment. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 27(2), 65-73. [More Information]
  • Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). Applied Musculoskeletal Assessment: Results from a Standardised Physical Assessment in a National Population of Professional Orchestral Musicians. Rheumatology: Current Research, S2, 1-7. [More Information]
  • O'Brien, I., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2012). Hearing Conservation and Noise Management Practices in Professional Orchestras. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 9(10), 602-608. [More Information]
  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T., Kenny, D. (2012). Musculoskeletal pain and injury in professional orchestral musicians in Australia. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 27(4), 181-187. [More Information]

2011

  • Chan, C., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2011). Development of a Specific Evidence-based Injury Prevention Exercise Program for Professional Orchestral Musicians. Third National Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) conference, Brisbane: APA.
  • Ackermann, B., Kenny, D., Fortune, J. (2011). Incidence of injury and attitudes to injury management in skilled flute players. Work, 40(3), 255-259. [More Information]
  • Evans, A., Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B. (2011). Prevalence of velopharyngeal insufficiency in woodwind and brass students. Occupational Medicine, 61(7), 480-482. [More Information]

2010

  • Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2010). Development of a New Instrument for Measuring the Musculoskeletal Load and Physical Health of Professional Orchestral Musicians. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 25(3), 95-101. [More Information]
  • Evans, A., Ackermann, B., Driscoll, T. (2010). Functional anatomy of the soft palate applied to wind playing. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 25(4), 183-189. [More Information]

2009

  • Driscoll, T., Ackermann, B., Kenny, D. (2009). Injury surveillance in orchestral musicians. 9th National Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion 2009, Australia: Safety Institute Australia.
  • Ackermann, B., Kenny, D. (2009). Musical performance. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, (pp. 321-400). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Kenny, D., Ackermann, B. (2009). Optimizing physical and psychological health in performing musicians. In Susan Hallam, Ian Cross, Michael Thaut (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, (pp. 390-400). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Ahn-Kim, Y., Chesky, K., Ackermann, B., Likar, A., Kadel, N., Stasney, C. (2009). The updated PAMA website: redesigning a webpage through communication within an organization. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 21(3), 145-149.
  • Kenny, D., Fortune, J., Ackermann, B. (2009). What predicts performance excellence in tertiary level music students? 2nd International Symposium on Performance Science ISPS 2009, The Netherlands: European Association of Conservatoires (AEC).

2007

  • Kolodziej, I., Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2007). Discrimination of cello string height: musicianship and sex. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104(2), 510-518.
  • Kolodziej, I., Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2007). Discrimination of cello string height: Musicianship and sex. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104(2), 510-518. [More Information]

2005

  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2005). Finger movement discrimination in focal hand dystonia: Case study of a cellist. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 20(2), 77-81.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Kolodziej, I. (2005). Musicians health issues- Focus on hand dystonia. Stringendo, 27(1), 34-34.

2004

  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2004). Interobserver Reliability Of General Practice Physiotherapists In Rating Aspects Of The Movement Patterns Of Skilled Violinists. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 19(1), 3-11.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2004). Perceptions Of Causes Of Performance-Related Injuries By Music Health Experts And Injured Violinists. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 99(2), 669-678. [More Information]

2003

  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2003). Physical characteristics and pain patterns of skilled violinists. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 18(2), 65-71.

2002

  • Ackermann, B. (2002). Managing the musculoskeletal health of musicians on tour. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(2), 63-67.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2002). Physical measures with between-limb asymmetry in skilled violinists. From Cell to Society 3, Sydney: The College of Health Sciences.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R. (2002). Reliability of physiotherapists in observing functional movements of the upper limb used in violin playing from videotaped footage. VIIth International Physiotherapy Congress, Sydney: Australian Physiotherapy Association.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Marshall, E. (2002). Strength or endurance training for undergraduate music majors at a university. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(2), 33-41.
  • Ackermann, B., Adams, R., Marshall, E. (2002). The effect of scapula taping on electromyographic activity and musical performance in professional violinists. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 48(3), 197-203.

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