Setting the Stage: Conversations in Performing Arts Health


What is Performing Arts Health? How does research work? Where can I get involved? Join us at Setting the Stage: Conversations in Performing Arts Health, a new webinar produced by the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health (TCPAH) graduate students where we explore these questions and more. Our team will interview Performing Arts Health researchers from around the world, diving deep into the methodologies, results, and future directions of research in the field. Our goal is to spread the word about the exciting research being conducted in PAH, and to inspire the next generation of researchers to join this multidisciplinary field.

Setting the Stage Conversations Team

Faculty Advisors

  • Kris Chesky
  • Sajid Surve

Project Team

  • Brian McGoldrick, Project Manager
  • Ryan Gamble, Host
  • Xiaoyue Liu, International Correspondent
  • Nabeel Zuhdi, Website Coordinator


Interview with Katrin Meidell

Katrin Meidell, DMA, is Assistant Professor of Viola at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she teachers undergraduate and graduate students, and coaches the award-winning BSU Viola Choir. In addition to regular solo recitals, she performs with the Hibiki Trio (flute, viola, and harp), in residence at BSU, and Trio Harmonia (flute, viola, and piano). In the orchestral realm, she is Principal Viola with the Muncie and the Anderson Symphony Orchestras and also performs with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. She enjoys playing new music and often commissions and performs new works.

As a scholar, Katrin is interested in Music and Medicine and serves as Chair of the American String Teachers Association Health and Wellness Taskforce. Her interest in Music and Medicine began soon after finishing her undergraduate degrees (Boston University, BA in Psychology and BM in Violin and Viola Performance, 2003), when she experienced an injury that was debilitating to her performing career. With the guidance of her viola teacher, doctors, and therapists within several disciplines, she eventually returned to a state of playing health. Since that time, she has been focused on the most holistic approach to viola playing possible and has a successful record of helping students significantly reduce tension and often completely eliminate playing-related pain. Much of this is due to her specialty in the Karen Tuttle Coordination method of viola playing and pedagogy, which encourages violists to play in the most natural and physically-relaxed way possible. Though the doctors and therapists helped a lot, Katrin is sure she would not currently be a professional musician were it not for Carol Rodland, her teacher during the Master of Music degree earned at the New England Conservatory of Music (2005), who helped her relearn how to correctly use her body when playing viola.

Olympus Digital CameraOnce she finished her MM, Katrin left Boston and moved to Denton, Texas, where she earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in 2011 at the University of North Texas, with a primary area in Viola Performance, and a secondary area in Music and Medicine. Her time at UNT was greatly influenced by Dr. Kris Chesky, who encouraged Katrin to research the relationships between performance anxiety and pain and also why string players are prone to injury. Katrin’s dissertation, Epidemiological Evaluation of Pain in String Players, yielded fascinating results that she has presented at regional, national, and international conferences. It was the first large-scale study (over 100 participants) of string players to take anthropometric measurements and to examine results based on the instrument type instead of grouping all string players into the same category.


Interview with Karendra Devroop

Dr. Devroop is a Fulbright scholar from Durban, South Africa and a former student and research assistant of Kris Chesky. He is currently a Professor of Music and the Director of the Music Directorate at the University of South Africa (Unisa). His professorship rests in the School of the Arts where he supervises masters and doctoral students. Devroop is a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated-researcher in South Africa and serves as a peer-reviewer for the NRF. He serves on the advisory board of two peer-reviewed journals and has over 80 peer-reviewed publications and conference papers. He has presented and published his research in the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Honk Kong, China and South Africa. He has served as an examiner for masters and doctoral dissertations at most universities in South Africa and is frequently called upon to serve as a key-note speaker at conferences in South Africa and internationally. In addition to his research, Karendra is a jazz saxophonist with several live and studio recordings to his credit. He has performed at major jazz festivals in the USA, Europe, Asia and South Africa.


Interview with Melissa Hatheway

Melissa decided to undertake a large-scale study as an undergraduate researcher. Throughout her tenure as an undergraduate student, she pursued this idea with passion, dedication, and a never-give-up attitude. With the guidance of Dr. Chesky, she completed all phases of an epidemiologic study of the UNT Green Brigade Marching Band – one of the most prestigious college marching groups in the nation. Now published in the Medical Problems for Performing Artists journal, Ms. Hatheway’s research data represents the first to examine injuries presented in collegiate marching band as well as to differentiate these concerns across instrument types and major. Other researchers are now following her lead. Ms. Hatheway won several UNT financial awards that helped fund presentations at the annual meetings of PAMA in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and the Texas Music Educators Association convention in 2013.


Interview with Michael Thrasher

Michael Thrasher currently serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Director of Graduate Studies in the Florida State University College of Music. As a researcher, Thrasher has presented papers and lectures at conferences of the College Music Society, National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, Texas Music Educators Association, and National Association for Music Education. He has been featured as a presenter or performer at numerous conventions of the International Clarinet Association, including at festivals in Ohio, Georgia, Sweden, Spain and Belgium. His work has been published in various journals, including the Journal of Performing Arts Leadership in Higher Education, Planning for Higher Education, The Department Chair, The Clarinet, Saxophone Symposium, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, and the NACWPI Journal. As a performing clarinetist, Thrasher has performed in symphony and opera orchestras in various states, including the Tallahassee Symphony (Florida), Shreveport Symphony (Louisiana), Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Symphony (North Dakota), Texarkana Symphony (Texas), and the Longview Symphony (Texas). He has also appeared as a recitalist and chamber musician in locales from Florida to California.


Interview with Xiayoue Liu

As a new international UNT doctoral student in Voice, Xiaoyue Liu was exposed to Performing Arts Health for the first time in her career when she enrolled in Dr. Chesky’s Introduction to Performing Arts Health course (MUPH 5000). Her response was immediate and passionate as she proclaimed that TCPAH must bring this agenda to China. According to Xiaoyue, such an initiative would expose Chinese schools to this new topic while creating exciting opportunities for collaboration. These conversations led to the development of a successful submission to the China venture Fund. Relying on her connections to several Chinese music professors, Xiaoyue successfully communicated with faculty and staff at four Chinese music schools. After working out logistics and receiving formal invitations and itineraries, Xiaoyue, Nabeel Zuhdi, and Dr. Chesky flew to China on May 13th .


Interview with Amy Laursen

Dr. Amy Laursen is the Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of South Dakota. She joined the University of South Dakota in the fall 2017 as an Adjunct Professor in the music department teaching Written Theory and an online section of World’s Music; and was hired as the Assistant Professor of Horn beginning in the Fall of 2018. She currently is the Principal Horn in the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra (IA), substitute horn with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra (IA), and substitute horn with the Billings Symphony Orchestra (MT). Additionally, she is the horn player in the low brass trio, Trio di Velluto, with her husband Dr. Todd Cranson and her good friend, Dr. Jamie Lipton. The trio has commissioned new works for the ensemble and has performed at numerous regional and international conferences. Previously, Dr. Laursen was the applied Horn Instructor at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, AR. There she taught applied horn, music theory and music education courses – including coordinating the annual HSU Elementary Music Workshop.


Interview with Nabeel Zuhdi

Current doctoral student Nabeel Zuhdi talks about his recent publication on classical guitarisits’ occupational health. His first known epidemiologic study was designed exclusively for classical guitarists and deployed new survey protocols that allowed for detailed assessment of classical guitar-related musculoskeletal problems. This study demonstrated that classical guitarists experience health problems at rates similar to or greater than other instrument-specific groups and that the patterns of musculoskeletal pain coincide with the anatomic and physiologic demands associated with playing this instrument. Similarly, the prevalence rates for non-musculoskeletal problems suggest high levels of biopsychosocial stressors that are often associated with the classical music genre. Analyses of prevalence rates for non-musculoskeletal problems suggest that younger musicians, especially those with high levels of musician identity, are at increased risk for mental health problems including depression.