It takes more than good chops, good material and a command of the business to be successful in bluegrass music. Sure, a little bit of luck can be helpful, but there’s another angle that gets overlooked too often. Over the long haul, staying healthy is the foundation of a rewarding musical career. The fundamental goal of IBMA’s Wellness Project is to create more visibility for health challenges, which can be innocently misunderstood, ignored or even denied. Although individuals may find personal answers to health and wellness problems, IBMA’s Wellness Project is aimed at making that task easier by bringing together the collective wisdom of the bluegrass community and sharing resource information. Many musicians are outside the mainstream channels for good health care information and services, which include group health insurance and annual physicals subsidized by an employer.
Handling a wide range of health problems is not a quick or easy project. After first identifying the situation, there are usually a range of ideas about how to solve a problem—which takes both time and often professional help, to see what might work and what might not work. Assuming there’s one simple way to solve a problem would be like believing there’s only one way to play a break in a tune. Like an individual’s personal efforts at staying healthy, the Wellness Project (including this web page) is a work in progress. We’ll be searching for accurate and up-to-date information and treatment options, and exploring the usefulness of what is discovered.
First appearing at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass in 2002, the program began with health-related informational seminars, opportunities for individual mentoring time and a health fair offering screening for various health markers. Sessions have been targeted mostly at topics relevant to musicians, including performance injuries such as hand and voice problems, stress, staying healthy on the road, performance anxiety, problems with addictive substances and obtaining health insurance. The sessions have showcased seasoned health care professionals, as well as respected performers offering insights. In addition to the info and links shared on this website page, a third element of the Wellness Project is about your contribution. This project will act as a switchboard for members to connect, learn and share helpful experiences. There are two ways for you to be involved. Join us at the World of Bluegrass sessions, where you can contribute to and benefit from the project in person. Secondly, we welcome input regarding wellness topics, questions, requests for sessions and any other angle that inspires thoughtful perspectives on wellness. The success of this part of the project will be directly influenced by member participation, so we look forward to hearing your ideas.
Sincerely, The IBMA Wellness Committee
Click here for a list of Health & Wellness-related links.