All posts by Gabriela

Body Mapping in the orchestra!

Photo of a performance of an orchestra. Taken from the back, violin players are shown.
Image by Ioana Sasu from Pixabay

In September 2018 the NSO Health and Wellness Committee (Newfoundland Symphonic Orchestra) was created and since then, we discovered some of the challenges that musicians have in the orchestra. In 2019 the NSO-H&W Committee started Body Mapping mini-workshops for orchestra’s members!

Jan. – Apr. 2019

Jennifer Johnson, Lauren Smee, and Gabriela Sanchez, licensed Andover Educators and members of the NSO-H&W committee, presented different topics related to common pains and injuries in musicians including: shoulders and neck tension, back pain, and tendonitis in the forearms/hands.

For now, we have completed these series and we encourage participants to continue applying the information to their playing and to tell students and colleagues about Body Mapping!

Musicians of all instruments, levels, and genres are welcome!

Prevent injuries, tension, and discomfort caused by playing music! Learn about the relationship between your body and your instrument!

  • Understand and experience how the body moves by following its natural design.
  • Identify your own patterns of movement and learn how to transform them for playing free of tension.
  • Discover the benefits of being aware of your body!

We will explore:

Morning session:

  1. The importance of body awareness in learning music and what body maps are
  2. Sitting and standing while playing
  3. How the legs move

Afternoon session:

  1. Common injuries in the arms
  2. Breathing!
  3. We will apply Body Mapping to your instrument (Bring you instrument! Piano is available)

Continue reading Musicians of all instruments, levels, and genres are welcome!

Registration Open!

Women musicians! Let’s get together and learn about our bodies!

The body map is a representation of the body in the brain, the perceptions that we have of our own bodies that influence our movements for any activity. Interaction with people and all the messages from the “outside” shape the body map, our own perception of the self.

So, bodies are not just bones, muscles, and organs; bodies also have different meanings.

Continue reading Registration Open!

I Have Wide Experience in Performing, Performing Fragmented

The body is the medium to create sound and for some of us it’s the vessel and the beginning of everything.
Gabriela playing a snare drum solo.

 PART 1

A Fragmented Body

At the beginning I didn’t have awareness in my body.

I learned to play from watching movements and copying them. I practiced for hours, days, months, and years. Most of the time it worked, but not always.

My illusion was that if I matched all those movements and performed them, I was going to play correctly. Faithful to my ideas, I didn’t question and I followed the instructions.

Early in my studies I started having some pain and later I was labeled as a musician with tendonitis. Continue reading I Have Wide Experience in Performing, Performing Fragmented

How Does Your Body React When You’re Stressed in a Music Setting?

Cat's face expression of surprise

There are numerous stories in our journey of music making. Some of them make us feel complete and encourage us to keep going and enjoy our music. However, there are also times when we face situations that make us believe that we are not talented (“enough”) and lose our confidence.

If you want to know how these experiences feel in your body, try the next exercise!

Continue reading How Does Your Body React When You’re Stressed in a Music Setting?

Are percussionists the freest instrumentalists?

Drummer playing

Barbara and William Conable, who are Alexander Technique teachers and developers of Body Mapping, are the authors of How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A manual for students. They explain common misperceptions in the body that musicians have that cause them tension. The part for percussionists says: Continue reading Are percussionists the freest instrumentalists?

Are you tense in your neck?

Picture of a woman's neck.

A few days ago I remembered how important it is to know the right way to use our tools, so that we don’t hurt ourselves. By tools I mean several things, from a hammer and pliers to the instruments we play, sticks and mallets, bows, microphones, etc. Mics weren’t in my awareness until the last time that I went to a show. Continue reading Are you tense in your neck?