One Method: Many Ways – Daily Feldenkrais For Musicians
during International Feldenkrais Awareness Week
The Feldenkrais Method© community celebrates Moshe Feldenkrais’ birthday between May 6th & 13th every year.
This year Feldenkrais Resources presented daily sessions specifically for musicians every day during this week, each led by a different practitioner. Please find the audio recordings below with descriptions of each session and practitioner and a plenary discussion session at the end.
For these sessions you will need to wear something comfortable that you can move easily in and have a mat or blanket to lie on to make yourself as comfortable as possible. A couple of the sessions also require you to have a chair available.
Please be responsible for your own self-care. The smaller and slower you do a movement, the more information goes into your nervous system, so please follow the basic rule – if it hurts, don’t do it! If you have any discomfort make the movements smaller, slower or even do them in your imagination.
Consider having your instrument nearby in case you want to use it during the lesson. You may wish to play or sing something before and after the lesson and see what you notice.
Wednesday 6th May
FINDING SPACE TO BREATHE with Anita Morrison
“Our breathing reflects every emotional or physical effort and every disturbance.” — Moshe Feldenkrais
Singers and wind players are already very aware of the importance of breathing freely and of the direct effect on their playing that any disturbance causes. It is less obvious for other instruments and rarely where time and awareness is sent. In this session you will have the opportunity to observe your breathing, sense where you are holding and find more space and freedom.
Play your instrument or sing a little before the session begins so that you have a reference to come back to after the lesson.
An Alumna of the GSMD and National Opera Studio, Anita’s performing career spanned opera, oratorio and lieder. She is particularly known for her teaching of trebles and was awarded an Honorary ARSCM in 2017 in recognition of her outstanding work in this area. She also teaches choral scholars at Cambridge University and is a vocal coach to The London Symphony Chorus. An intrinsic belief in the importance of good body use led Anita to train as a Feldenkrais Practitioner. She has given Feldenkrais workshops for singers at the GSMD, Leeds College of Music and for Voice Workshop and the British Voice Association.
Thursday 7th May
PERFORMANCE ANXIETY with Marilla Homes
Everyone deals with some form of anxiety, stress or worry in their daily lives. We will gently explore our patterns through the lens of performance anxiety, and investigate ways of acknowledging, managing and overcoming stress, and being more fully engaged with our physical selves as musicians.
Marilla is a classically trained singer and performer, who has performed professionally with Victorian Opera (Melbourne, Australia) and as a soloist with many other companies and orchestras, as well as being a regular performer at folk festivals and venues around Australia and the UK. Marilla has taught at Feldenkrais Method at the Victorian College of the Arts and Music (University of Melbourne) to music, dance and drama students, and continues to offer private tuition in both singing and Feldenkrais from her new home in Sheffield, UK.
Friday 8th May
PERSPECTIVES ON SITTING with Josephine Horder
We musicians can become trapped in one habitual way of sitting when we practice, rehearse and perform. In this session we will open the door to fresh possibilities through three short Awareness Through Movement lessons. We also ask the question: “How can our feet help us to sit better?”
You will need your usual practicing chair and, if you wish, your instrument nearby for a few moments of ‘before and after” experiencing.
Josephine has enjoyed a wide ranging career as a freelance concert cellist, especially in chamber music and chamber orchestras. She has taught the cello to students of all ages and stages. She combines a Feldenkrais approach to life-long learning with her extensive experience as cellist and teacher, running Feldenkrais workshops for instrumentalists in addition to classes and individual lessons for all comers.
Saturday 9th May
EMOTIONAL CENTRING AND COMMUNICATION with Rebecca Meitlis
In this session we will do an Awareness Through Movement Lesson that can be illuminating for performers in many ways, from walking onto the stage, to feeling at ease in your shoulders. I will focus on discovering the experience of emotional centering and how this helps us to the connect with our audience. There will be time at the end to discuss your experiences and questions.
Rebecca Meitlis’ practice focuses on performers, building on her professional experience in Opera, as a director and the many Creative Learning projects she has lead.As well as teaching at The National Opera Studio, she is a visiting professor at the Opera Academy Teatr Wielki Warsaw, guest coach for the Jette Parker Young Artists programme at the ROH, is a coach on the Exzellenz-Labor Gesang and , if the current situation allows….. teacher at the Oxenfoord Summer School.
Sunday 10th May
FINGER, ARM AND SHOULDER VERSATILITY with Emma Alter
Devised with Upper String players in mind, but useful for everyone.
In order to keep our fingers free and able to move easily, at the same time as holding up our instruments on our shoulder, we need to feel the connection between our fingers and the shoulder joint, a relationship formed in the womb during the creation of our upper limbs. We often use too much force to move ourselves, and we’ll also be picking that apart a little in this lesson.
In this lesson we’ll be exploring that relationship in an unusual way.
- Your instrument to play a little before we start the lesson, and then at the end, (so keep it somewhere handy).
- A door frame, an arm or two, and an open mind.
- A camera pointed at you, so I can see you when standing
- A mat on the floor to rest on.
Emma Alter is both professional classical musician and Feldenkrais teacher. She brings a wealth of experience with her, understanding the pressures of standing in front of an audience and performing at the highest level, whatever the situation, the complexities of playing an instrument, and how the body can get in the way of performing to our optimum.
She has helped musicians with postural issues, pain during playing, restricted movement, chronic tension (including back pain and RSI), or simply to find more efficient ways to play more easily.
She has been a guest lecturer at the Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She has taught modules on Practicing like a Ninja, and the Psychology of Performance, and teaches regular Feldenkrais for Musicians Workshops for the Musicians Union.
Monday 11th May
PRESENCE IN PERFORMANCE with Maggy Burrowes
Developing the ability to be fully present in musical performance is one of the most powerful ways to share our joy with our audience. Those performers who move us the most are not necessarily the most polished, or the most able, but instead are often the most individual, the most spontaneous in their way of being, and the most able to immerse themselves into their performance whilst remaining connected to that part of the self that is the most deeply authentic. Whatever your instrument, exploring the resonant qualities of the voice can free our self-expression and enable our authentic self to emerge and the magnetism of our on-stage persona to develop.
I discovered a love of music and movement very early, bouncing along to the radio in my cot. I began performing in my 20s with zero formal training but plenty of enthusiastic singing practice behind me, and a steep learning curve ahead: I overcame my nerves the usual way, one gig at a time. From my first experience of Feldenkrais I recognised how perfect it was for teaching vocal performance. I qualified at the first London training, in 1990, and have been exploring the many different aspects of working as a performer with vocalists, musicians, dancers, and actors, ever since. I am delighted to be part of the Feldenkrais International Online Summit this year for the Live Panel Discussion on Spirituality Meets Physiology.
Tuesday 12th May
REDUCING PAIN AND INJURY IN PRACTICE AND PERFORMANCE with Yeu Meng Chan
According to various studies, the prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in instrumentalists is fairly high – it ranges from 70% to 85%. The reason for this could be long hours of practising and rehearsing; it could also be from incorrect body alignment resulting from lack of awareness and inefficient use of oneself. This could lead to tension in playing, and stress and anxiety in performance.
The Feldenkrais Method offers solutions and strategies for the reduction of pain and injury in practice and performance. It does this through a process of body mindfulness which enhances our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Yeu-Meng’s career as a professional pianist was severely compromised as a result of chronic pain and injury. Through the Feldenkrais Method she is now playing better than before, with more creative impetus and stamina. Yeu-Meng has led successful Feldenkrais workshops and classes for both professional and amateur musicians as well as music students, helping them to address issues with chronic pain and performance nerves, and improving their efficiency of practice and playing techniques
Wednesday 13th May
FELDENKRAIS ANYWHERE with Niall O’Riordan
Flute player and Feldenkrais practitioner Niall presents his favourite Feldenkrais awareness through movement in standing. This lesson can be easily incorporated into your daily routine during a practice session or before a performance. It is particularly effective freeing up the neck and shoulders. It will also help you discover better distribution of weight over your feet.
Described by critics as ‘dazzling’, ‘tonally ravishing and technically flawless’ (British Flute Society) Irish flutist Niall O’Riordan enjoys an international career as soloist and teacher. He has performed and taught throughout Europe, Canada, USA and South Arica. He began studies with Sir James Galway in 2011 and continues to be mentored by him. In 2014 he was awarded the Galway Festival rising star award and was presented with a 14k gold headjoint by Nagahara Flutes Boston. Niall is internationally recognised for his completely holistic approach to flute playing and teaching. He is a certified Feldenkrais Method practitioner and uses the method to help musicians reach their potential by learning about their functioning and how to act efficiently.