Feldenkrais for Instrumentalists
The high demands of playing an instrument require us to be particularly alert and sensitive to the way we use our bodies. This enables us to remain physically fit and to realise our intentions. However, many problems can arise from the way we hold and play our instrument and from the conditions in which we perform (e.g. restricted space in the orchestra pit). Furthermore, subconscious habits of posture and movement from other contexts frequently affect posture and playing negatively. The sound, the ability to react and the ability to express oneself are all impaired, and instrumentalists often begin to experience discomfort in the musculoskeletal system.
There are two things an instrumentalist must do in order to achieve effortless of playing while still retaining their unique individual style. The first is to recognise counterproductive habits, or resistance, in order to resolve them. The other is to develop an understanding of how our individual system of movement, with its complex relationships and interconnections, is organised – both with and without the instrument. By capitalising on this understanding, we have at our disposal a range of technical possibilities, which can be selected as desired to express music and its content in a nuanced way.
The goal is to understand what one is actually doing, to recognise interferences or hindrances, so that these can be removed, and the body used increasingly precisely, effortlessly and deliberately in connection with the instrument. The more accurately we feel what and, above all, how we are doing something, the better we can influence and alter it. Thus our energy can be channelled efficiently rather than being diverted by subconscious postural patterns, and the more energy, stamina, confidence and freedom is released for playing the instrument and for musical expression.
The Feldenkrais Method investigates, among other things, the various factors that interact with each other to enable a free and dynamic posture while also incorporating the instrument. There is a particular focus on exploring the balance within the feet-pelvis-ribcage-head and finger-hand-arm-shoulder-torso relationships.
In group sessions I use verbal impulses to lead the participants through detailed sequences of gentle movements in lying, sitting or standing positions. By performing these movements, participants can observe in minute detail how the skeleton, nervous system and muscles correspond to one another, how this can be used as rationally and efficiently as possible, and how these relationships can be reorganised and optimised. Many of the lections also involve working with your instrument.
A significant part of one-to-one sessions involves hands-on work with the client, which means I can cater for individual characteristics as well as requests. Together, we observe in detail the contact to the instrument, the overall posture when the instrument is incorporated, and the way that we approach technical challenges – and one by one we untangle the habits that hinder posture and playing in any way.