As I mentioned in my last post, I am continually intrigued by the physical connections I discover whether teaching a yoga class or working with musicians of all levels. The concept of moving and building from a foundation of ease in the body is a hallmark of my teaching in both the yoga and music studio. This is so different than the general fitness mentality that often seems to tighten and strengthen and relax later. I’ve watched some very traditionally fit people bully themselves into difficult yoga poses with sheer brute strength in contrast with people that move into those same poses with genuine ease and flow. It is easy to relate this experience to musical performance – what a different experience to hear a performer playing from a foundation of ease than one playing from a foundation of tightness or tension.
Of course, physical stamina and strength are necessary components, both at an instrument and away from it, and each can be built on a foundation of pure movement. By pure movement, I mean involving only the muscles necessary and only to the degree needed to accomplish the job at hand. Anything else can simply be defined as tension. Tension in one part of the body reverberates through the entire body, impacting the musician’s technical execution, sound and sometimes even musical choices.
If you are looking to uncover either underlying or task-specific tension within your body and to move with greater ease either at your instrument or away from it, choices abound. The Physically Perceptive Musician offers a multi-layered approach, combining scientific based bio-feedback with the body re-education principles of yoga and The Alexander Technique.