Feldenkrais® for Musicians: Improving Your Performance

When Aliza first experienced Feldenkrais as a young musician, she felt that the Feldenkrais Method not only changed her physically, but also changed her perceptions of the music she heard and played. Her ability to move better gracefully,  allowed her to understand and feel the flow of the music in a way she did not experience before. Because of this observation, she's always been strongly committed to helping other musicians learn more about their own patterns of movement and how to use the Feldenkrais method to improve their musical imagination.

Aliza's understanding of how the brain learns to move was and is expanded by her work with many people suffering from serious deficits from strokes, cerebral palsy, paralysis, multiple sclerosis and other movement deficit disorders.  She has also worked with actors, dancers, athletes and people interested in moving elegantly and gracefully in everyday life. All this work is basically about improved performance and Aliza brings this broad experience to her work with many world-class musicians and music teachers.

Musicians Have Unique Needs

If you are a musician experiencing pain or an injury explore Musician Pain & Injury.

Properties of sound - time, space, weight, rhythmical impulse, gesture, momentum towards an action (a leap against gravity), process of speeding gradually and slowing down gradually - are all properties of movement.

When, for a musician, these properties are not experienced in their movement, two things happen - the brain does not have the appropriate image of the action needed for the musical gesture, and it cannot send the right impulses to the muscles. The action is then clumsy and can result in injuries. Also, the hesitation that is introduced to movements that need to be spontaneous, sends a conflicting message to the muscle to contract and not contract at the same time. It creates  paralysis in the muscles that can only be over ridden by forcing the movement.

We derive meaning from music as we connect one sound or note to another.  The flow and movement of the notes as they relate to one another create our sense of music.  A note standing alone is difficult to perceive as music.  Feldenkrais releases the resistant forces in limbs, joints, and body to provide more nuanced movement.  Just as the flow from one note to another creates our sense of music, the more nuanced flow from one physical movement to another provided by Feldenkrais can greatly improve musical performance.

Feldenkrais can improve the "how" and "why" of playing by providing new options for movement, removing resistant forces, and getting back to the internal movement of the music.

"The original impetus to create something really unique is sometimes lost in the process of acquiring such rarefied skills."  Aliza Stewart.

"When audiences are deeply touched by a piece of music, they report, "It moved me."  Why do they say that?  Music and movement are deeply connected."  Aliza Stewart

Every time Aliza works with a musician, a unique lesson is produced to address that musician's individual needs.  The lesson generally begins with Aliza observing the musician playing. She then identifies,  through visual observation and through the sound where are the roots of theproblems.  Through years of experience with world class players, she can then note specific problems and tailor the lesson to the level of player, intensity of the resistance, and source of the conflict.  By observing patterns, resolving these conflicts, and teaching the nervous system a new way, the musician leaves the table and lesson feeling not only physically rejuvenated, but with a new excitement about performance potential.


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