Date of Award


Degree Name

Exercise Science


College of Health Professions

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Mark Timmons

Second Advisor

Dr. Gary McIlvain

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Reed Smith

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Henning Vauth


Background: Shoulder pain is common in the upper-string musician population. [43,49] Pain has been linked with injury and impairments. Altered scapular kinematics has been associated with patients diagnosed with shoulder injury or impairment. Fatigue of the shoulder complex through repeated arm motions has been shown to alter scapular kinematics, resulting in shoulder pathologies, including rotator cuff impingement syndrome. [12,15,28] Upper string musicians have been documented with practicing multiple hours in a day and it could be inferred those practice sessions could be fatiguing. [24,49]

Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effect of upper string musician practice session has on scapular kinematics. The study has three alternative hypotheses. The first being that following the practice session there will be decreased upward scapular rotation during arm elevation. The second being that following the practice session there will be decreased external scapular rotation during arm elevation. Finally, following the practice session there will be decreased posterior scapular tilt during arm elevation.

Methods: Six upper-string musicians were recruited for this study. Participants performed five-arm elevation followed by a predetermined test piece for scapular kinematic pre-measures. Participants then practiced for 45 minutes. Following the practice session, the participants performed the predetermined test piece then the five-arm elevation for post-measures. Strength measures were recorded following the practice session as well. Pre-fatigue/ fatigue scapular motion and strength measures was explored using paired t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were appropriate. Statistical significance was determined a P < 0.05.

Results: Following the practice session there was no statistically significant change in upward scapular rotation for either the left (P = 0.392) or right (P = 0.43) during arm elevation. External scapular rotation measures were not found to be statistically significant pre- and post-practice session for either the left (P = 0.801) or right (P = 0.282) arm during arm elevation. Posterior scapular tilt was found to not be statistically significant for the left (p = 0.069) or right (P = 0.814) arm during arm elevation. It was also found that during arm elevation angle main affect was not statistically significant for posterior scapular tilt (P = 0.251) on the left arm. Arm elevation angle main affect was not found to be statistically significant for external scapular rotation (P = 0.126) or posterior scapular tilt (P = 0.917) for the right arm.

Conclusion: Following the practice session specific for upper-string musicians, the results showed no statistically significant decrease for upward scapular rotation, external scapular rotation, or posterior scapular tilt. The study did find. However, that arm elevation did not influence external scapular rotation or posterior scapular tilt. Further research with more participants is needed to determine if the results are population-specific or not.



Shoulder joint -- Physiology.

Shoulder pain -- Treatment.

Musicians -- Wounds and injuries.