Feldenkrais® for Musicians: What Is the Feldenkrais Method?

Playing music is movement. Without movement, playing is impossible. Improve your movement and you will improve your playing.

As humans, our habitual patterns of movement are unique to each one of us. They are the result of the particular circumstances in our life at the time these patterns were learned.  Since those circumstances were not always optimal, the habits learned were also often not optimal.

As the complexity of actions increases - from crawling to sitting to walking to playing the violin - more and more of our behavior becomes habitual and we may think of it as "just who we are", even if it causes discomfort, pain, or difficulty.

The Feldenkrais Method provides tools to access and adjust these habitual patterns in order to make them more appropriate for our current goals and activities. As a result we achieve better coordination, comfort, and artistic expression.

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais

Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 -1984), an Israeli physicist and judo master, developed the Feldenkrais Method while working to heal a personal knee injury after forgoing surgery in the 1950s.  Dr. Feldenkrais created a series of sophisticated self-rehabilitation and awareness techniques that resolved his injury, allowing him to resume his judo practice.  His successes lead him to begin teaching his methods to others.  He personally trained a group of Feldenkrais teachers who were able to pass the method on. Today there thousands of practitioners worldwide practicing the Feldenkrais method.

Feldenkrais Method Applications

The Feldenkrais Method is practiced in two applications:

  • Awareness Through Movement ® classes
    • These classes consist of easy movement lessons.  The movements address all aspects of human functioning.  They build new skills with ease, starting with the foundation of what each student does well.  Ideas of inadequacy and imperfection are minimized with the focus being on the student 's strengths.
  • Functional Integration ®
    • Functional Integration ® is a gentle, effective hands-on approach that addresses:
      • Serious muscular-skeletal and neurological problems
      • Chronic tension and pain
      • Inadequacy of performance

Functional Integration® is personalized and tailored for each individual's needs.

Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method

Feldenkrais sessions are individually formatted for each student.  The benefits are unique to each student and vary from student to student.  Some common Feldenkrais benefits are: 

  • Reduced physical pain
  • Better ways of coping with stress
  • Increased overall range of movement
  • Enhanced athletic and artistic performance
  • Prevention of performance related injuries
  • Greater ease and pleasure in physical activities
  • Quicker recovery of abilities following trauma
  • Increased mental clarity

Additional Feldenkrais Resources

You can learn even more about Feldenkrais by visiting:
www.AlizaStewart.com

Feldenkrais Guild of North America 
http://www.feldenkraisguild.com

Moshe Feldenkrais on Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshé_Feldenkrais

An interview with Aliza Stewart, published in Senseability

An interview published in Allegro, the magazine of Local 82, NYC.


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"Feldenkrais has given me tools to not only have an understanding of my movements and body, but a philosophy which deals with an approach to playing. I recovered from an injury entirely with the Feldenkrais method and found it to be useful in all aspects of life. In relation to my viola playing, I believe that it has opened up my sound and has influenced the level of creativity. It helps to deal with great pressure that comes with performing, which prevents injury. I am very thankful to Aliza for her help and inspiration." Maiya Papach, Violist - St. Paul Chamber Orchestra