Focus: Communications - Three minutes with ... Rosanna Preston, the Musicians Benevolent Fund

What is the new campaign you have just launched?

We have teamed up with the Association of British Orchestras to launch a campaign that encourages musicians to be more aware of the potential hazards of their job.

Most musicians develop health problems from carrying around heavy instruments or get repetitive strain injury as a result of practising every day.

They also tend to be exposed to excessively high noise levels. At the ABO's recent annual meeting, we asked people to put their hands up if they had experienced health problems or knew a musician who had - everyone's hand went up.

What are you doing to tackle the problem?

We want orchestras to give greater consideration to musicians' health needs, so we have introduced the Healthy Orchestra Charter. It will act as a kitemark to indicate that certain standards of care have been met, and we plan to extend it to other musical genres eventually.

What will orchestras have to do to get a kitemark?

There will be three different levels - bronze, silver and gold. The bronze will be something everyone can attain fairly cheaply, simply by doing things such as providing free drinking water. The gold will be for orchestras that come up with really innovative ideas - for example, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra has introduced free pilates lessons for players.

How extensive is the problem?

We will be funding a major six-month study that will begin in the next couple of months and will document the scale of the problem. We will also hold training sessions in order to share best practice. Our aim is to prevent musicians getting sick in the first place by saying to orchestras that the more they look after them, the less time off they will have and the better they will play.

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