Tag Archives: musical instruments and injuries

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!

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?

An hour of learning!

Jennifer Jihnson and Gabriela Sanchez starting their presentation at Resonate 2016.

On October 15th Jennifer Johnson and I presented in the music educators conference Resonate 2016-NLTA.

Our presentation focused on recognizing some of the cultural myths and postures that produce pain and tension in the body. We talked about how these patterns interfere with the natural design of our bodies and explained accurate information about the body. We also shared some of the tools that we can use to help our students to develop a balanced body while learning to play an instrument.

Some of the topics discussed were neck, shoulder, and lower back pain; as well as tendonitis in the arm and carpal tunnel syndrome. Continue reading An hour of learning!

3 Suggestions for Percussionists (and Other Musicians ) to Avoid Tension

Concert hall with percussion instruments and Gabriela playing vibraphone

1) Be in balance while standing

If you have pain in your lower back or your legs feel tired after practicing while standing, it’s likely that your body is not balanced. This means that some parts of your body are doing extra work. They try to do the functions that other structures should be doing. Continue reading 3 Suggestions for Percussionists (and Other Musicians ) to Avoid Tension

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!