MOVEMENT & WELLNESS

Musicians’ wellness

Bridget developed an interest in musicians’ well being and preventing and remediating injury after many years of full time orchestral playing and music teaching. She was well equipped to move in this direction of somatic (body-mind) education considering her vast experience as a teacher and performer, her serious explorations of the Alexander and Feldenkrais Techniques, her Psychology studies and her involvement in Pilates and Yoga.

Bridget holds a BA and PG Dip Mus from UCT and the Licentiate from the Royal Schools of Music. She is a Licensed Andover Educator – a global non-profit organisation of music educators dedicated to enhancing careers in music with accurate information about the body in movement. Alongside her flute teaching and performing, Bridget teaches musicians’ wellness and Body Mapping courses at the University Of Cape Town College Of Music, and teaches Body Mapping throughout South Africa. Her vision is to work with musicians in a truly holistic way; facilitating artistry and wellness by fully integrating body, mind and music, thereby creating the proper foundation for technique and interpretation. Bridget’s musicians’ wellness teaching includes qualitative movement retraining, learning about the body’s design for easier movement and freer breathing, sensory awareness, preventing injury caused by misuse or overuse, as well as areas such as performance confidence tools, understanding tension, personal goals and motivation, healthy and productive practicing and self care for performers and teachers.

Bridget is available for individual sessions, master classes and workshops. 

Body Mapping for Musicians

Bridget is a licensed Body Mapping specialist and member of Andover Educators, the organisation of affiliated Body Mapping teachers founded by renowned Alexander Technique teacher Barbara Conable. As musicians, the quality of our movements determines the quality of musical sounds we make, as well as the health of our bodies. The problem is that music is rarely taught as movement, and amateur as well as professional musicians suffer injuries. Following in the footsteps of somatic pioneer F.M Alexander, Barbara and William Conable developed the art and science of Body Mapping to facilitate musician’s artistry and wellness. Body Mapping for Musicians focuses on structural anatomy and movement as they relate to playing an instrument and singing. It is an essential process in developing a proper basis for musical techniques in all genres and helps us prevent and remediate injury and improve performance by examining, changing and refining our neurological maps of the body. Training kinaesthetic sensitivity and inclusive awareness are essential elements of Body Mapping, as well as learning about the body’s structure through visual aids and experiential activity and how to achieve physically integrated and emotionally connected expression. Body Mapping is not technique; it is the basis for technique.

What are Body Maps?

The body map is one’s self-representation in one’s own brain. If the body map is accurate, movement is good. If the body map is inaccurate or inadequate, movement is inefficient and injury-producing. In Body Mapping, one learns to gain access to one’s own body map through self-observation and self-inquiry. The student carefully corrects his or her own body map by assimilating accurate information provided by kinesthetic experience, the use of a mirror, anatomical models, books, pictures, and teachers. One learns to recognise the source of inefficient or harmful movement and how to replace it with movement that is efficient, elegant, direct, and powerful based on the truth about one’s structure, function, and size.

What is Body Mapping?

Body Mapping is the conscious correcting and refining of one’s body map to produce efficient, coordinated, graceful, effective movement. Body Mapping, over time, with application, allows any musician to play like a natural. It is a tool that is useful in many different settings from music studios to exercise studios and in many other somatic disciplines. Body Mapping not only helps musicians avoid injury; it also enhances musicians’ technique. The practical application of Body Mapping to music making was discovered by William Conable, professor of cello at the Ohio State University School of Music. He observed that students move according to how they think they’re structured rather than according to how they are actually structured. When the students’ movement in playing becomes based on the students’ direct perception of their actual structure, it becomes efficient, expressive, and appropriate for making music. Renowned Alexander Technique teacher, Barbara Conable, further developed, researched and wrote about Body Mapping, founding the organisation Andover Educators. The Conables’ observations are currently being confirmed by discoveries in neurophysiology concerning the locations, functions, and coordination of body maps in movement.

The Course

This course “What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body®” is designed to set each performer who takes it on a path of self-evaluation and change, in order that he or she may eventually arrive at a sensory-motor integrity sufficient to becoming and remaining free of injury and pain through a lifetime of performing with increasing pleasure and proficiency.

  • MODULE 1: MOVEMENT, YOUR SENSES, AND AWARENESS IN PLAYING AND SINGING.

    Training musicians’ movement by cultivating an accurate and adequate Body Map. Training sensory discernment and responsiveness. Training inclusive awareness.

  • MODULE 2: THE CORE OF THE BODY AND THE PLACES OF BALANCE.

    How to sit and stand free of tension. The spine; the balance of the head on the spine; the balance of the head and thorax on the lumbar vertebrae; the balance of the torso on the legs; balance at the knee; balance at the ankle; balance on the arch of the foot; and the balance of the arm structure.

  • MODULE 3: THE FOUR ARM JOINTS AND HOW TO USE THEM

    The four arm joints; the organisation from the tip of the little finger to the tip of the shoulder blade; whole body support for arm movement from a dynamic, lengthening and gathering core.

  • MODULE 4: THE MOVEMENT OF BREATHING

    Mapping the structures of breathing and the movement of breathing, including a dynamic, lengthening and gathering core.

  • MODULE 5: THE LEGS AND HOW THEY MOVE AS YOU PLAY

    The three leg joints; the organization of the musculature; leg freedom in playing; the reflex that gives free musicians a spring in the step and a stable, supported relationship with the floor.

  • MODULE 6: PRACTICAL APPLICATION AND PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

    Through individual work with instruments and exploration of concepts at the instrument / with the voice, students experience immediate application of the lecture concepts.

Body Mapping for Everyone

The quality of our movement is governed by how we think we are constructed. Body Mapping is an essential process for improving performance and preventing injury in daily activity, the office, athletics, sports and the performing arts. Discover what many actors, athletes, dancers and musicians already know; our body works best if we use it efficiently.

You will be taught essential material about how your body is magnificently designed to support and deliver weight, and allow for fabulous movement. You will develop skills for cultivating awareness and be coached in the practical application of body mapping concepts. As you learn about your body and how its use or misuse affects your activities, you will gain valuable insight into postural habits and how to release and correct them.

Body maps need not be conscious. Those who exhibit fine, free body use, have by experience and effective modeling during their development, maintained complete and accurate maps unconsciously. Many of us however, may develop errors in our body maps through misinformation or misunderstanding instructions or inadequate teaching or poor habitual body use. These errors can lead to injuries when people continue to use their bodies the way they believe they are constructed versus how they are truly constructed. Body Mapping is an invaluable tool in retraining movement. By assimilating accurate information provided by kinesthetic experience, the use of a mirror, anatomical models, books, pictures, and teachers, one learns to recognize the source of inefficient or harmful movement and how to replace it with movement that is efficient, elegant, direct, and powerful based on the truth about one’s structure, function, and size.

Misunderstandings of correctly aligned posture are very common, due to commands like “Sit up straight!” and “Stand still!” “Posture” means ‘a position of the body’ and it implies a static holding or stance and comes from the Latin word “position” and “to place”. Both adults and children are therefore often confused about how to find comfortable, balanced, optimal body alignment and easier movement. Movement is the key! Stiffness and holding patterns interfere with the body’s innate ability to find balance and buoyancy. Bridget offers individual consultations and group workshops for adults and children. These include Body Mapping, awareness skills and movement activities. You will learn to understand your body’s design, the senses and awareness, co-ordination and breathing.

At work, physical discomfort at your desk and computer drains your concentration and enjoyment. Tension, lack of movement and focus on a computer screen can lead to issues like backache, headaches, shoulder pain and hand problems. Bridget offers individual consultations and Body Mapping workshops on topics such as tension release, optimal body alignment, efficient and balanced body use and sensory awareness. Collaborative workshops with a Pilates teacher, or Physiotherapist, or an Alexander Technique Teacher are also offered.

If you are interested in scheduling a workshop or consultation, or wish to receive more information, please contact Bridget.