January 18, 2023

MSM Jazz Arts student Mikkel Blaesild Vuust (drums) talks about how MSM physical therapy sessions have assisted him

Mikkel Blaesild Vuust (BM ’25) is a MSM jazz drumset student from Aarhus, Denmark, who lived and studied for two years in Sweden before moving to New York to study at MSM. He’s been playing drumset since an early age and comes from a family of musicians who will be on tour around Denmark from February 25 to March 11 promoting their record, Further to Fly, a tribute to the great American singer and composer Paul Simon.

Mikkel started physical therapy with Dr. Eduardo Pereira at MSM because of experiencing problems with his back during practice and performance.

(Learn more about the MSM Physical Therapy program and read an interview with Dr. Eduardo Pereira here.)

Tell us about why you started physical therapy sessions at MSM?

Mikkel: I started doing physical therapy because I had been struggling for a long time with back pain when playing my instrument, and it was making practicing and performing difficult and painful. I was specifically feeling pain in the upper right side of my back and the muscles around that area.

How have they helped? How have you improved?

Mikkel: I have experienced improvements in multiple ways as a result of my physical therapy sessions. Most importantly the pain in my back has been reduced significantly, and I can play for longer stretches of time without having to stop. Moreover, I am more aware of where the pain comes from now and how to treat it when I notice that the muscles start to get sore or tense. I feel like I have a better understanding of my body and the movements I make when playing my instrument as a result of the sessions with Eduardo. This has in effect helped me relax when playing, and it also helps me breathe better during practice and performances.

“The most rewarding part of the physical therapy sessions is the practical and instantly applicable exercises and information Eduardo provides.”

MSM jazz drumset student

Dr. Eduardo Pereira, PT, DPT-RAC, works closely with each student.

How do you work with Eduardo?

Mikkel: At our physical therapy sessions, Eduardo shows us different small exercises that help strengthen parts of the body where we experience discomfort and pain. We also spend time building a more general strength around the area making sure that the muscles work together. Furthermore we do different stretches, and Eduardo treats the pain using manual therapy techniques.

Dr. Eduardo Pereira, PT, DPT-RAC, customizes exercises and treatment for each student based on their needs.

What do you like best about these sessions? Why have they been necessary?

Mikkel: The most rewarding part of the physical therapy sessions is the practical and instantly applicable exercises and information Eduardo provides. I think everybody could benefit from these sessions where you examine how you use your body when playing your instrument – especially being a professional full-time musician who spends many hours everyday repeating the same movements.

PT is not only a means to treat injuries and pain in the body but equally important learning how to prevent injuries and to keep the body fit for the strain of playing our specific instrument long-term. I have personally always been interested in physical wellness and have picked up a lot of techniques from other drummers and musicians, but getting to work specifically on my physique makes a big difference.

We all have different bodies and habits, and there are a thousand different ways to play your instrument, and different techniques. Therefore having someone who can examine your playing and tell you what weaknesses need to be worked on is really helpful if you want to sustain a career as a musician without injuries. Moreover, it’s a free service open to all students at MSM. Having to get help later in your career outside the school can be very expensive, especially in New York, so I would recommend taking advantage of this opportunity.

Mikkel Blaesild Vuust performing with the MSM Jazz Nonet in October 2022

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