Conservatory pushes to create body-aware student body

Robert Levy
He likes to move-it move-it

To continue their policy of increasing body awareness, the conservatory has expended considerable effort to provide opportunities for students to exercise and become aware of their physical instruments.The conservatory will follow up this year’s conservatory workshops by occupational therapist Sally Greenebaum and body-mapping expert Barbara Conable with a year-long series of visits by body experts. The impressive line-up of experts slated for next year include Richard Simmons, Suzanne Somers, the Tae Bo guy, and Brett Favre.

“The list of people who are coming is absolutely fabulous,” said Lawrence cello professor and body advocate Janet Anthony. “I am particularly looking forward to working with the contortionists from Cirque du Soleil.”

In addition to the outside experts who are coming to campus to give workshops, many more activities have been planned by the conservatory.

Beginning in Fall 2003, weekday morning group aerobics sessions will be led in the Chapel by Dean Kathleen Murray and various members of the conservatory staff and faculty. The sessions will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will be structured so as to “kick a big healthy dose of pure awesome energy into your system!” according to Dean Murray.

While the conservatory continues to look for more practice room space, a new priority is being placed on health-related spaces and personnel. In the planning stages are a conservatory sauna and hot tub, a musician-oriented cardiovascular and weight room, and, years down the road, a masseuse in every practice room.

The conservatory is also working hard to make the current facilities more hospitable to the athletic musician. Beginning next term, vitamin and salt tablet dispensers will be installed in the conservatory locker rooms. In the downstairs lobby, the conservatory couches will be replaced by large floor mats and bean bag chairs.

A dietician will begin overseeing and approving the kinds of food served at all recital receptions. According to Associate Dean Jeff Stannard, conservatory students who attend two or more recitals per day during third term weekends typically won’t get a balanced diet at all if they eat recital reception offerings. In the future, students who complete their recital hearing will immediately be asked to turn in their reception menu for approval.

Just this week, the conservatory announced that the conwear catalog for the first time will include jerseys and sweatbands. Still under debate is whether to offer jockey shorts, sports bras, pads, and cups.

In a bold move that proves their commitment to health issues, the conservatory has asked all conservatory students to report two weeks early for physical conditioning. “We can’t expect people to act healthy if they start practicing hours and hours a day with cold, weak, atrophied muscles,” said Richard Bjella, director of choral studies. “As anyone who’s been through one of my warm-up sessions knows, in just a few minutes you’ll be feeling it for the next few days. Singers especially have to watch out that they don’t overexert themselves.”

Faculty members and staff have been asked to incorporate a more exercise-oriented, athletic attitude towards music-making into their classrooms. The effect has been immediate in some areas of the conservatory. Students currently in orchestra have already been asked to “drop down and give me 20.