I spent two weeks in Montreal where I did a lab with composers, artists, and performers. The music and the development of creative processes was extraordinary! I learned so much, however I want to emphasize the discoveries I found with my body.Continue reading New trips, Old patterns
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.
The body is the medium to create sound and for some of us it’s the vessel and the beginning of everything.
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
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!
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?
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.
We are so used to demanding a lot from ourselves and in this thinking sometimes we believe that sleeping and resting less would increase our productivity. Productivity meaning: practicing more, playing more, planning classes, writing, sending emails, etc. Continue reading Recharge with Five Minutes of Constructive Rest
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.
How important is my body when I play music?
Can the understanding of my body transform my performances?
In what ways can the perceptions of my body limit my expression?
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 will begin to answer the questions, and then I will use relaxation and tension as an example. Continue reading Breaking Bad Habits in Music