Professional musicians have more repetitive-use injuries than the lay person may know. It’s a big issue, and it often gets worse as the musician gets older. Increasingly, it is also cropping up among young musicians.
At George Mason University they are taking preventive measures. In 2002, Professor David Sternbach founded the Center for Arts and Wellness. Courses within the Center help young musicians cultivate healthy habits for practice and performance.
Professor Sternbach invited me to present the Feldenkrais Method to two sections of undergraduates. One had 20 students, and the other 10. Both sessions were fun and productive.
At the start of this 75-minute class, three volunteers from the 20 students played their instruments. One played violin and two piano. This was the Before. Then the whole class did a number of movements standing, then lay down and was quiet for a while then there were movements while on the floor. For the After, the same students played again. The result? Each of the three, all men, was amazed by how much more relaxed and confident he felt. Then I asked the listeners for feedback. All agreed that for each player the quality of the sound had improved.
In the second class the volunteers were a percussionist, a singer, and a trumpet player. The feedback was the same.For me, the change in the singing was the most dramatic. One woman’s voice filled the whole room. That quality of singing lifts you up! That’s me in the center background, sitting on a chair and wearing a yellow sweater.