Background: Playing-related musculoskeletal disorders (PRMDs) are common in musicians and interfere with the ability to play an instrument at the accustomed level. There is limited research into injuries affecting folk musicians.Objective: to explore Irish traditional musicians’ experience of PRMDs. Methods: Focus group interviews were conducted in 2011 and 2012, in two venues in Ireland. Data were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data collection ended when no new findings emerged from the analysis of interviews. The inclusion criteria were: males or females aged 18 and above, and who taught or played Irish traditional music on any instrument. The data were analysed using the interpretative phenomenological method. Results: All participants (n = 22) believed there was a link between playing music and musculoskeletal problems. The main body areas affected were the back, shoulders, arms and hands. The main theme that emerged was: ‘PRMDs are an integral part of being a traditional musician’, and that the musical experience was generally prioritised over the health of the musician. There were sub-themes of ‘fear’ and ‘stresses that contributed to PRMDs’. Conclusions: PRMDs are an occupational hazard for traditional Irish musicians. There is an awareness of PRMDs, but changes (technique, environment) may threaten identity. Key words: injury, disability, pain, folk music, work, leisure.
- folk music