Your wrists in music

This is a quick explanation about the wrist and an example of how to transform a mis-mapping.

Watch the video and play music without tension in your body!

In my last notes I explained what body maps are and also that Body Mapping is about identifying and correcting mis-mapping that can cause pain and tension, and compromise our health while playing music. I mentioned a common mis-maping in the perception of our wrists.

Some mis-mappings are acquired by observing how the people in our lives move, our parents, friends, or teachers. When learning music we follow the instructions of the teachers and things like: “your wrist moves like a hinge” are the type of information that is not accurate and contributes to our mis-mappings.

Now the next step for you is to try to relate this information to your performance. Observe yourself practicing and notice how this can affect and improve your playing.

Let me know your discoveries and/or questions!

Music in Summer

Is it important to go to music festivals? Here, I explain briefly some of my experiences and how they have affected my life.

While I was studying my first years in music, my perception of time was based on having to go to school and then vacations. These periods weren’t complementary as I would forget my interests over the summer and spend time with family. In those years, I am sure that I enjoyed and learned something in the time between school years, however I wasn’t following a personal path. I was too young to realize what types of things I wanted and could pursue.

It was later that I discovered that in summer there are music festivals, and then I perceived these as an extension of school to keep learning.

Now, probably as a result of living outside my country (and having to experience the pass of time within seasons), life experiences, and age, I realize that summer brings an amazing number of opportunities to nurture our musical and creative needs. Continue reading Music in Summer

Examining Video: Injuries in Musicians

Pop-up Pianos, N.Y.

A couple of weeks ago, friends started sharing a video on Facebook about injuries in musicians. In thirteen sentences the minute-long video mentions some of the issues that musicians suffer within the body and the beliefs around this.
It’s very important to address musicians’ injuries and talk about them. Then we can understand, avoid, and treat these problems efficiently, and better understand our profession.

My intention in the next five points is to think in a more detailed way about the content of this video. Since this video is in Spanish, I have translated it to English:

1) Video: “To be a musician demands great discipline that may cause injuries.”

Certainly, studying and playing music requires discipline. We need to set and follow our personal schedules to practice, have rehearsal(s), attend different classes or teaching, and do all the things we have to do in our personal lives outside the musical context. We need to become organized with our time and in the ways that we practice.

However, discipline is not the cause of developing an injury. Continue reading Examining Video: Injuries in Musicians

Your attention please

Swimming in the ocean.

 “The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer.”
(Csikszentmihalyi, 2008, p. 31.)

When I was ten, I used to swim every day. I already knew how to swim, but I took classes for years because I enjoyed to be in the water. I lived in a place with hot and humid weather. Even when raining, I was there, the only child wanting to swim.

One day in the class, we were starting our laps from one starting track, as if we were in a competition. Imagine all the children in a line waiting for their turn. I was the last, I was there ready for jumping. I heard the whistle and I jumped. When I fell into the water I started to swim, but I couldn’t move forward. My teacher, who was inside the pool, stopped me. Confused, I stood up and I asked what was happening. He told me:

  • “You don’t do it like that anymore. You already know how to do it.”

I smiled. I thought “what did I do wrong?” Without thinking too much, I repeated the jump and, this time, I could continue my way to the other side of the pool.

Many years after, I remember my percussion teacher asking me why I was doing something wrong, if I already knew the right way to do things. He used to say:

  • “You don’t play like that.”

Yes, by observing more carefully, I noticed that I was playing differently than what I thought. There was an awkward new movement in my arms or the sticks were not at the same height, etc.

The swimming and the percussion lessons have something in common: my lack of attention. Continue reading Your attention please