Body Awareness, Musical Performance, & Artistic Rejuvenation

by Alan Fraser, GCFP

Physical gesture sculpts sound
The body is the actor's or dancer's instrument. A dancer's art lies in the gestures; an actor's body language is as important to his art as is his speech. The Feldenkrais Method® refines their art by refining the gesture. Musicians, by contrast, use physical gesture to bring 
sound out of their instrument: the “shape” of the sound constitutes the musical art. The sounds, rather than the gestures themselves, act on the emotions. However, the link between the Method's refining influence and the artistic result remains: improved physical organization has positive, precise effects on musical interpretation.

A hand walking on the keys

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais's work deals with function: efficient skeletal mechanics improve the neuromotor system's management of movement. And here the Feldenkrais Method offers the pianist a further specific benefit: the hand can be understood as a mini-body – the fingers as legs, the hand itself as a pelvis, the arm as a torso that breathes. Given this correlation, Awareness Through Movement® lessons originally designed with whole-body skeletal mechanics in mind can be adapted to the hand to evoke a similar improvement in its lying, sitting, standing, walking, running, hopping and leaping on the keyboard – or on a fretted instrument. The absurdity of feeling the arm's weight is quickly brought to light and replaced with the impulse to 
unstable equilibrium.

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