Conferences, Technique

OhioMTA 2012 Conference (1): Experiential Anatomy by Lynn Singleton

Over the weekend, I attended the 2012 OhioMTA Conference in Columbus, Ohio.  It was a great conference, far exceeding my (already high) expectations!  We heard some top-notch presenters and performers and I learned so much.  I plan to briefly summarize some of the sessions for you over the next few days!

The theme of the conference was “The Healthy Musician: Teaching, Performing, Living.”  Here is some info about the first session I attended.

Experiential Anatomy: Using Mind-Body Methods To Increase Awareness for Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, and Overall Wellness in Musicians, by Lynn Singleton, NCTM.

Lynn began by sharing her own experience with feeling discomfort at the piano, and how she was able to solve her problems away from the piano.  Injury prevention and overall wellness requires a willingness to take self-responsibility.  Our body at the instrument can only be as good as our body away from our instrument!

Lynn discussed the advantages of “experiential anatomy,” which is basically about increasing body awareness so that we can more correctly use our bodies.  Tension arises from many sources: emotional/mental (like stress, fear, lack of self-esteem), physical (habitual movements, injury, compensation for pain), and social/environmental sources (posture in the work environment while using things like computers, cell phones, etc.).  Mind-Body Methods can help us get past obstacles and improve kinesthetic sense. 

Lynn went on to discuss different types of postural alignment (static and dynamic).  She showed pictures of different types of poor posture, and described their ill effects on the body.

Then, she discussed various types of Mind-Body Methods that can help solve these problems.  Mind-Body Methods can be divided into two types: Movement Methods, and Self-Massage Methods.  The Movement Methods include (1) Body Mapping, (2) Ideokinesis, (3) Pilates, and (4) Yamuna Body Rolling.  The Self-Massage Methods include (1) Trigger Point Therapy, (2) Reflexology, and (3) Shiatsu.  Lynn briefly described each of these methods and the history behind them, and how they can help solve tension and pain problems.  Lynn was obviously very familiar with these different types of Mind-Body Methods, and is even certified in Yamuna Body Rolling.  During the session, she led us through a few simple exercises we could do ourselves at home.

At the end of her session, Lynn highly recommend the book, What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body, by Thomas Mark.  She also suggested using things like a mirror, stability ball, anatomical charts, resistance bands, etc. in our studios.  She stressed the importance of being knowledgeable about the body and heathy movements so that we and our students can play properly and healthily!

Don't miss a thing!

Sign up to get blog updates delivered to your email inbox.

Select ONE:

2 thoughts on “OhioMTA 2012 Conference (1): Experiential Anatomy by Lynn Singleton”

  1. Wish I could have attended! I read the book you mention, What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body, several years ago when I was experiencing some wrist and forearm pain at the piano. I also found it useful. Even if you don’t get into sophisticated body mapping, Mark offers a slew of practical tips, any one of which could really help with your playing endurance and long-term health.

    The one that has stuck with me has to do with how far down to press each key on the piano when you’re playing. The advice is (contrary to how some pianists play) to not press them down all the way until they can’t be pressed further, because at this point a shock will be sent up through your finger joints to your wrist and arm. Better is to press just past the point where the hammer swings and strikes the strings, and then to release, before you hit that shock point. It’s helped me play longer and saved my wrists!

    1. I have been having a little bit of wrist pain, too. I will try that tip on not pressing down all the way! I have been trying to relax, and stop playing when I feel pain, but it is hard to take care of myself when I need to be practicing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *