SMTD Wellness FAQs

Where can I go when I am experiencing performance-related pain?

The Wellness Program offers Performing Arts Health Clinics multiple times per week in all the Moore, Dance, and Walgreen buildings. You can sign up for a 15-minute appointment to meet with a hand specialist or MedSport clinician to discuss any pain or injury you are experiencing. If you are unable to attend any of the clinics, please contact [email protected].

What educational opportunities are there on wellness topics?

There are a variety of wellness courses offered at SMTD including Yoga for Performers, Strengthening and Conditioning, Wellness for the Performing Artist, Alexander Technique, and Contemplative Practices. We also offer non-credit educational opportunities through workshops and weekly, free classes through the Mind-Body Balance Series.

In addition to these educational opportunities, you can learn more about wellness topics on the SMTD Wellness YouTube playlist. This series showcases experts talking about wellness-related topics such as yoga, Alexander Technique, hearing health, meditation, injury prevention and vocal health.

Who do I talk to about mental health concerns such as stress, performance anxiety, or depression?

CAPS@SMTD provides an embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor within SMTD to support students’ mental health. CAPS provides brief individual, couples, and group therapy; drop-in workshops and outreach presentations; urgent/crisis intervention; psychiatric evaluation; and medication monitoring in conjunction with ongoing therapy and assistance with referrals. Please email Emily Hyssong ([email protected]) to request an initial appointment.

SMTD also offers free wellness coaching with Amy West, SMTD Dance Lecturer and Health & Wellness Coach.

To access a complete list of U-M’s resources across all areas of mental and emotional health (including issues and support related to gender & sexuality, sexual assault, conflict resolution, and more), visit the Well-being Collective’s Resource page.

I have concerns about hearing loss. Does the Wellness Program help with hearing health?

Yes! The Wellness Program holds hearing screenings and earplug fittings multiple times per year through a partnership with Michigan Audiology. The audiologists are there to answer any further questions and provide advice for further preventative measures. Hearing screenings are available for all SMTD students, faculty, and staff.

Can practicing my instrument lead to hearing loss?

The simple answer is yes, it is possible. A more comprehensive reply takes into account the length of time one rehearses, combined with the amount of sound energy one’s instrument produces typically. Some instruments produce more energy than others, and some are in closer proximity to the ear than others. For instance, the French horn can be very loud, yet the violin is located in close proximity to the ear. And, orchestral sound levels can be amazingly loud! The simplest advice is to pay attention to what your body, in this case your ears may tell you: ringing, buzzing and/or a feeling of fullness may be indicators of temporary overexposure. Create quiet time for the health of your hearing, and limit extracurricular loud sound exposures that may be cumulative.

Do sound shields or earplugs help prevent hearing loss?

They can help, if used properly. That simply means that proper insertion in each ear results in the best sound reduction possible for that particular device. Also, various sound reducing devices (like compressible foam, filtered non-custom earplugs, or custom-made musician’s plugs) have different sound-reducing qualities. But regardless of the device, proper insertion is key for best sound reduction. For practice environments, sound shields have the capability of reducing sound pressure in the area if utilized properly.

Does the Wellness Program offer medical assistance?

If you are experiencing any illness or dire concerns, please stop by UHS for medical assistance. The Wellness Program offers preventative and otherwise supplemental knowledge that is to be used in conjunction with medical assistance, if needed. The Wellness Program is not a substitute for seeking help from a health care professional.

Does the Wellness Program have anything on-site to help with any pain I have?

Yes! If you have any questions regarding appropriate exercises for your body, please attend one of our triage sessions weekly Performing Arts Health Clinics to be assessed by one of our Performing Arts clinicians. The Wellness Program provides ice packs and massage chairs to help with stress relief and pain reduction. The Dance building has a Cross Training Lab equipped with exercise and rehabilitation equipment as well.

I know that warming up and cooling down before and after practice are important for my physical health, but I don’t know what exercises to do. Are there resources available to help me?

Yes! The SMTD Wellness YouTube playlist includes videos with warm-up, cool-down and yoga sequences you can use. Making sure that the body is warmed up and primed to perform is important to avoid injury and to get your mind and body in a state to tolerate physical activity. Cooling down is necessary to return your body to baseline, along with stretching any muscles that may have tightened from performance whether seated, or actively standing and moving. Improper warmup and cool-down (or not performing them at all) may increase your risk of injury and can limit your body’s ability to retain the music and choreography that you just learned.

Where do I find information about Wellness Program events?

Information about the Wellness Program events is shared via our website, a monthly newsletter, weekly emails, and the Wellness bulletin boards in all the buildings. To register for events, please visit our online scheduling page.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Contact Dr. Paola Savvidou, Wellness Program Manager and LEO Lecturer III, at [email protected].