Using the Body's Wisdom to Unlock Technique

By Herbein, Jacqueline | American Music Teacher, June-July 2003 | Go to article overview

Using the Body's Wisdom to Unlock Technique


Herbein, Jacqueline, American Music Teacher


As teacher and performer, it is impossible to have too much knowledge about the body. We owe it to our students to pass along information that will allow them to unlock their musical potential and prevent the possibility of future injury. But what information will we pass along? Will it be recycled information from the latest workshop or clinic we attended or the last article we read? It all sounds so good and makes so much sense when that dynamic speaker/writer presents his or her definitive methods, but on what information was that particular presentation based? Do we have enough anatomical knowledge to assess the validity of the information? If it was valid, have we taken the time to incorporate the latest work-shop/clinic/article principles into our own playing? If not, how can we teach what we haven't experienced? How does the incorporation of these new principles feel? Are we in touch with the new physical sensation? Does it work? To answer these questions, we need solid knowledge and an understanding of how our bodies work in relation to our instruments.

We now live in an age where more information than we ever dreamed of is only an Internet connection and mouse dick away. Understanding and using this information is another matter. A thorough knowledge of basic anatomy is crucial to understanding movement when playing an instrument. Armed with solid anatomical facts, we can guide young musicians into forming good physical habits so when they start practicing longer hours in junior high and high school they are not at risk of repetitive stress or other injuries. This anatomical knowledge also allows us to look at the information presented in many of the beginner methods on the market today and truly question their validity. Position and outward appearance of the hand, arm and body are only part of the puzzle. Creating a movement free from underlying tension is another. It is here that we must tap into our own body's wisdom. In his book, The Inner Athlete, Dan Millman states: "A good teacher can speak the language of the intellect--words--and communicate clearly so the student understands. An excellent teacher can speak the language of the body--by showing the muscles, bones, and nerves how something should feel if done properly."

Take a moment to check in with your body right now. How comfortable are you? Are you sitting hunched over in a chair, or are you sitting supported? Are your shoulders tight? Are you gripping the pages, or are the pages resting easily in your hands? What does your body tell you? The majority of us go through our days without listening to what our bodies are trying to communicate. We tune out our bodies to squeeze in all the demands of our jobs: practicing, rehearsing and teaching, not to mention the details of our personal lives. When our bodies finally get our attention with excruciating sensations we can't ignore, how do we respond? Do we quiet our bodies by popping a pill, having a drink or watching mind-numbing television, or do we consider working with them in a cooperative way?

The messages of holistic health abound. Look no further than the offerings at your local health club--in addition to the basic low-impact aerobic and step classes you might find tai chi, yoga, Pilates and therapeutic massage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Using the Body's Wisdom to Unlock Technique
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.