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The exploration of the body and learning accurate information about it has been fundamental in my process as a musician and as a person. My training in classical music, and my past beliefs, shaped me so that having control and the search for perfection were essential in my life. The exploration of new forms in music was not encouraged.
After experiencing tendonitis, in an effort to connect with my body, I started practicing yoga. Years later I gave it up for a busy performance schedule. I assumed that body, movement, and music couldn’t exist together. Body Mapping allowed me to make that connection and start a new process…
The idea of Experiment, Move & Play is to open a space where we can link the exploration of the physical body with the creative self. The body is a medium for our performances. Using Body Mapping we will learn about how we are naturally designed to move, not only to avoid injuries or tension, but also to identify and work through limitations. At the same time, we will give room for the spontaneous through some improvisation.
It is the end of the year, winter is starting and the day light savings and the upcoming solstice are making me feel drained. It doesn’t matter how important or exciting the events in my life are, my body is tired.
Last week I bit my food in a weird way, and this produced pain that has lasted all week in one of my teeth. Since then, I’ve been more aware of how I eat and of the amount of tension that this pain has produced in my jaw.
However, the tension around my jaw is not new. Since I started being more conscious about my body, I’ve noticed the patterns that I repeat which produce tension in this area. For example, usually I clench my teeth when I’m stressed. This happens in different circumstances when I practice, play or even when I’m writing an email. Do you experience something similar?
Are you aware of your jaw when you play?
What do you know about the jaw?
Have you noticed if you clench your jaw when you’re trying to play faster or in any other situation?
In the next video I explain some things to help you to reduce the tension in your jaw.
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.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a colleague who expressed some of his concerns and questions. This is my answer which I wanted to share with everyone.
The message had two parts. The first is the issue between tension and relaxation concepts for learning to play an instrument. In the second part he asked some questions: How to unlearn wrong ideas? How to make a change in students’ ways of thinking so that they can learn to relax?
I am excited. This time it is a different type of excitement, different from any other. It’s a first time.
I am a musician and I have been playing music for about 15 years. I love music. I love playing in the orchestra, in a percussion ensemble, and with other instrumentalists. Playing is absolutely exciting, challenging, and addictive, as any other musician would know. Continue reading Research and Performance→
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.