One of my colleagues at Texas Tech, Quinn Patrick Ankrum, is interested in Body Mapping, and she set up for a Body Mapping colleague of hers, Bonnie Draina, to come to Tech to teach a few classes. People could also sign up for private lessons. Knowing very little about Body Mapping, I decided to jump at the opportunity, and this afternoon I had my very first Body Mapping lesson.
It was fascinating! I played the first page of the Bartok concerto, at which point Bonnie said she thought she had enough information to start from. It's hard to describe everything we talked about, but Bonnie basically led me to have wow moment after WOW moment in that hour. I never imagined how important the way we think about our bodies is for the way that we hold and move our bodies, and ultimately, play.
For example, I have a long neck. A very long neck. And I've altered my instrument setup many times to accommodate this, but never did I notice that because of the way my spine curves when I stand, it forces my head into a somewhat forward-jutting position, which then effects my entire back. We're talking less than an inch here, but enough to see the harm once pointed out. It's not just my neck and head that could use adjusting, but also my posture. It's funny actually-- I had a massage a few days ago with a new massage therapist, and she mentioned that my shoulders were misaligned. I've never had anyone point that out to me before, and frankly, was a little upset about it... And then just a few days later, a Body Mapping specialist points out the exact same thing!
It was a lot to take in, and I truly hope I'm able to meet with Bonnie or another Body Mapper at some point soon in the future. She gave me a lot to think about and I'm sure the next few weeks (months?!) will be an interesting exploration of the way I think about my body. In turn, this will effect the way I balance, play, and otherwise approach my viola.
It's definitely time for me to order and read What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body.