Musicians all over the world are suffering from pain and limitations in their performing, many to the point of losing their careers. Recent research quoted in the Washington Post (March 25, 2003) shows that professional musicians are just as likely to be permanently sidelined by an injury as professional football players. And amateur musicians are not immune from pain and injury either. Most of these musicians hurt because they misuse their bodies, not because of disease or structural anomalies. Incorrect body usage accounts for a staggering number and variety of injuries in musicians, and is at the root of many frustrating technical limitations too. While music medicine is relevant for a minority of suffering musicians, most only require information and retraining.
For generations music teachers have had to teach without an effective way of conveying accurate information about the most significant of all instruments – the body. Most taught information about movement intuitively – many with inbuilt patterns of misuse.
Body Mapping! The conscious correcting and refining of one’s body map to produce efficient, graceful, coordinated, and effective movement. When our physical self- representation is adequate and accurate, then our movement is effective and safe. As musicians recover the integrity of their body maps, the quality of their musical performance significantly improves.
Musicians who embrace the principles of Body Mapping by acquiring knowledge and insights from this revolutionary pedagogy enjoy freedom of movement that enhances their ability for musical expression, and avoid placing themselves at risk of injury.
Body Mapping works!
Body Mapping is the easiest way to train free, efficient, effective, beautiful movement is to help your students to an absolutely adequate, accurate body map.
Body Mapping is the fastest, most effective way you can correct a student’s tense or inefficient movement is by correcting the body map that is producing the movement.
Students just naturally develop, refine, and correct their body maps as they practice if they maintain a lively, integrated awareness of their movement as they play. You can teach and model effective body awareness.
Key points to consider:
- Quality of movement is essential for musicians and it must begin with childhood instruction. Regrettably many musicians do not see themselves as “movers” and the results are problematic, as illustrated by research statistics.
- Musical performance is a complex, multi-modal skill. Long-term practice of an instrument (including singing & conducting) causes changes in the brain.
- Musical movement results from body maps – specific neural networks in the brain.
- Musical performance is demanding. Use of inaccurate, repetitive movement results in either diminished performance capabilities or injury.
- Body Mapping (BMG) is a self-inquiry somatic (mind-body) educational technique developed specifically for musicians. It teaches the importance of understanding the neurophysiological connections in the human body leading to freedom of movement.
- Four principles in the teaching of BMG:
- cultivating an accurate & adequate body map
- training movement
- training the relevant senses
- training attention
- Everything in our body is connected. Tension in one area will rapidly translate to others, impeding quality of movement and the resultant musical sound.
- When you correctly map balance, you will notice how easily you recover ease of movement, and reduce tension and distortion in your body.
- Medical conditions are not inherent to singing/playing/conducting. They result from the biomechanical approach taken to performance by the musicians. Hence we must change the paradigm and training musicians about movement directly and ensure they see themselves as movers. This must begin with the youngest musicians so they can maximize their technique and remain free from pain and injury.