Body Mapping is a method especially for musicians developed by Barbara and William Conable. The aim of this method is to avoid pain and prevent injuries such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and ganglion cysts, from the constant practice of a musical instrument.
Body Mapping is important for the practice of any instrument as it focuses on the quality of movement in the body and not on a specific technique of an instrument. Body Mapping is a tool to identify restricted movements, which limit our body and our musical performances. It is important to note that this method does not replace medical advice.
Based on neurophysiology, Body Mapping uses the concept of “body maps”, which are representations of the body in the brain that influence, among many things, how we play an instrument. If we have an accurate body map then the movement of the body will be fluid, balanced, and free of tension. However, if our body map is not precise, the motion will be rigid and limiting, which can produce pain or injury.
In Body Mapping we identify our body maps (our ideas about our bodies) and, if it is necessary, we transform them through the understanding of how the body is anatomically designed for playing music. However, we must understand that Body Mapping is more than theoretical information, it is an experience.
Barbara Conable is the founder of Andover Educators, an organization of professional musicians committed to the development of music through the teaching of Body Mapping.