Friday 4 February, the first year Bachelor students of our Jazz, Pop and World Music departments have started the module Optimal Performance Programme (OPP). The aim of the OPP is to make the students more aware of mental and physical aspects that are important in making music and turning in top performances. The theory and practical classes focus on facilitating a sustainable and successful career; they provide the students with essential knowledge, skills and competences in the field of mental and physical health.
Lectures and workshops included in the OPP: hearing and protection, fitness for musicians, performance awareness, injury prevention, mental skills, making choices, Alexander Technique and pilates.
The programme started with a kick-off session by Wessel Coppes and Connie de Jongh, followed by an interview and panel discussion with Frans van Geest, Nina Sampermans and Agnes Gosling. They were asked what kind of struggles – both mentally and physically – they’ve experienced during their careers and how they dealt with them.
With its Jazz, Pop and World Music departments, Codarts is the first conservatory in the Netherlands with such a structured and integrated programme focusing on health in the curriculum.
Noah Noordzee, student and OPP participant in 2020-2021: “Last year, I’ve followed the OPP, and I’ve enjoyed it! Becoming an artist is much more than just singing or playing. Whether you like it or not, you will face challenges like stress, performance pressure or physical injuries. This programme learns you how to deal with issues like these. Who would not want to learn more about that?
During Codarts’ kick-off week, I heard about the existence of the Performing Arts Health Centre, and that this team of professionals is available to help all students who study at Codarts. I thought: ‘Wow, this is so cool!’ They’ve helped me recovering from Corona.
If it was up to me, the OPP could take two semesters instead of one. I advice every student to start the programme with an open mind. See it as a toolkit, to make use of long-term. It consists of elements to help you as an artist. Use it to your advantage! My favorite classes were Alexander Technique, and the So You Think You Can Cook workshop!”