The Feldenkrais Method in Music Training
Saturday, February 1, 1997

Section: Performers

The world's largest school for contemporary music, with close to 3,000 students, Berklee College of Music offers Awareness Through Movement® lessons as part of its curriculum in the Performance Studies Department. Assistant Professor and Awareness Through Movement instructor Richard Ehrman*, who created and teaches the popular course, asks students to write about what the lessons are doing for them and their music making.

Saxophonist Ari Pizer complained of severe arm pain when he signed up for the course. After 5 weeks he reported,

"I was playing for longer periods of time and pain free! It was amazing. This hadn't happened to me in at least 2 years... I have tried a lot of different methods but to no avail." His improvement affected how he felt about himself as well, "...even my self esteem is up because my practicing is up and when I jam I don't feel bad about my playing because of lack of practicing."

Some students find the lessons provide a general change as well. Vocalist/pianist Antigoni-Maria Yiallouridou, wrote,

"Ever since I've started doing the lessons I'm more calm, I improved a lot my performance abilities both as a singer and pianist and I gained a lot of confidence in myself."

And drummer Andrew Barr reports, "this class has inspired many realizations of not only my posture while playing, but how I manage my body throughout the day."

By improving the ability to sense oneself in action, the Feldenkrais Method® addresses a musicians abilities at a deeper level.

"The class has helped me become better at noticing things about myself and about my playing. By being more aware of myself, I feel that I am playing with less effort and also sounding better." -- guitarist Joe Corcoran.

Cellist Liz Buchal summed up the various benefits of the lessons when she offered,

"Learning how to learn has maximized my practice time and study efforts. I can understand the ebb and flow of intake and be aware of when enough is enough... Most of my repetitive motion complaints have disappeared; I can practice for six hours without pain whereas two would have been my limit six months ago. I'm definitely a more comfortable player now. Everything has changed from the way I carry my instrument to how I carry a tune."

*Richard Ehrman has since passed away.
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