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Understanding your anatomy and playing music - Input Junkie
May 2nd, 2015
11:00 am

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Understanding your anatomy and playing music


Four good minutes of relaxed, excellent musicians and explanations of why knowing that the ground supports you, your arms include your collarbones and shoulder blades, and that your core [replica of spine is shown] supports you rather than your back muscles improves people's ability to play music. Moving in accordance with your actual structure works better.

http://www.dougjohnsonpiano.com/bodymapping.html

Same video with Portuguese subtitles-- this link thanks to Bruce Fertman, my Alexander Technique teacher.

Body-mapping was invented by Bill and Barbara Conable.

An article about how to apply body-mapping-- specifically about how to think more clearly about the bottom joint of your forefingers-- the joint is roughly level with the knuckle, even though it doesn't look that way from the front, and it's better thought of as bone surfaces sliding over each other rather than as something like an axle. The article also includes how to integrate new knowledge about anatomy into moving more easily-- it isn't something you need to run consciously. Updated link for the author.

The video mentions bones, muscles, and joints. If you're interested in mapping and imagery for internal organs as well, check out Eric Franklin (lots of books, videos, etc.) and Mellish'sA Tai Chi Imagery Workbook: Spirit, Intent, and Motion. An interview with Mellish.

Weirdly enough, there's a completely different Eric Franklin, a scupltor who makes anatomically correct skeletons out of blown glass with florescent gases in them.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1066142.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:acelightning
Date:May 3rd, 2015 11:18 am (UTC)
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Wow. There's a lot of amazing stuff there. I've taken the liberty of sending the link to this entry to my daughter-in-law Ascenza, whom you've met at the October Gathering. She has a degree in music education, but I don't know whether they taught her any of this. I'm just a curious amateur - mostly I sing, and play the ukulele a little - but however much of this I can learn by reading and watching videos, I think it would be useful. I also wonder about applying the same principles of body awareness to using computers.

Thanks!

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From:nancylebov
Date:May 3rd, 2015 11:49 am (UTC)
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You're welcome.

What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body:The Application of Body Mapping to Music-- this includes singing.

And mapping does apply to all sorts of movement, including using computers.

Edited at 2015-05-03 11:51 am (UTC)
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From:acelightning
Date:May 4th, 2015 08:57 am (UTC)
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According to most of the reviews, this book has a lot of pictures, but not much explanation; one needs a teacher to tell you what to do with all those pictures. But I added it to my Amazon wish list anyway :-)
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From:nancylebov
Date:May 4th, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for checking and letting me know. I'll be more careful about recommending the book in the future.

Kenny Werner invented something like the Alexander Technique independently, and people have gotten improvements in their playing from his Effortless Mastery.
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From:acelightning
Date:May 5th, 2015 05:46 am (UTC)
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I always read the reviews of anything I buy on Amazon, whether it's a book, a frying pan, or a DIY breakfront :-)

Effortless Mastery has a higher percentage of positive reviews, but there are still some people who think it's useless, even counter-productive, New Age bullshit. But I put this one on my wish list too :-)

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From:nancylebov
Date:May 5th, 2015 01:38 pm (UTC)
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Not only do I read reviews, but if it's a self-help book, I do a careful check for whether people say they actually got good out of it, rather than that they enjoyed reading it. (My excuse for the Conable book is that when I was evaluating it, I was evaluating it for myself, and hadn't checked the reviews since.)

As for the Werner book, there's a lot of rational material in there (basically about eliminating anxiety while playing music), but some of the meditations get intense-- from memory, it seems like evoking so much energy it would be like being a Hindu deity while you're playing. (Why Hindu? Side effect of having read Lord of Light.)

Edited at 2015-05-05 01:38 pm (UTC)
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From:acelightning
Date:May 6th, 2015 02:44 am (UTC)
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Hey, being a Hindu deity could be very useful for a musician. Imagine being able to play piano, guitar, saxophone, and drums all at the same time :-D
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