LU Connies Spend Fruitful Weekend Redrawing the Body

Jeff Christoff

> Think you know your own body really well?
> You may want to think again.
> Barbara Conable, an Alexander Technique specialist and developer of
>Body Mapping for Musicians, held a three-day residency over reading
>period in which she divulged “What Every Musician Needs to Know About
>the Body.” Both students and faculty from different instrument groups
>attended to hear Conable’s words of experience.
> A body map is the self-representation in the brain, and it is based
>on this map that people move. “If a map is good, movement will be
>good,” Conable said. “If a map is incorrect, movement will be
>consistent with the error.” With body mapping help, one can identify
>errors in the body map and thereby correct them.
> Janet Anthony, who organized Conable’s visit, found the workshop to
>be useful to her both as a cellist and a teacher. “There is a lot that
>I will be able to use in my own playing, and I have already put into
>practice some of the principles in my teaching,” she said. “One of the
>things I liked most about the workshop was that the information she gave
>could be used by anyone no matter the level.”
> Conable has found body mapping to be extremely successful; in fact,
>in her work with injured musicians, she estimates that she is successful
>nearly 100% of the time. She has also worked with actors, dancers, and
>non-musicians uncomfortable at their computers. When not leading
>workshops, she gives private lessons or writes books.
> Conable especially enjoys training music teachers to teach body
>mapping. “The objective is to get this information to as many people as
>possible,” she said. She suggested that body mapping should be a part
>of freshman orientation at any music school.
> In order to improve one’s body map, Conable recommended a good
>anatomy book, such as Kapit and Elson’s Anatomy Coloring Book. She also
>advised students to watch the movement of great performers and imitate
>them.
> Conable has led body mapping instruction since 1975. Body mapping
>grew from her former husband’s observation that in the school of music
>where he taught, students that moved badly did so because of the way
>they perceived their structure. Once they changed their maps, however,
>their movement generally improved. Conable and her husband then
>identified hundreds of possible errors for musicians, and even now, she
>continues to develop the theory and practice of body mapping.
> The Seeley G. Mudd Library recently acquired a number of books
>recommended by Conable. For the list of books and further information,
>visit http://www.bodymap.org.

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