Beyond Awkward (Part 2): Moving From Your Base

In my last post, I guided you to build awareness of your base, either your feet or sitting bones. Now let’s explore how the base can generate movement that resonates in your body.

Helpful image: Imagine pouring rice grains into a bowl. Each grain falls and gradually fills the bowl.

Let’s begin in standing…

Stand with feet hip joint distance apart, allow your knees and hip joints to be softly bent. Allow your body’s weight to be equally distributed through both feet. Use the pouring rice image as you gradually pour your weight more into your right foot. Experience how shifting the weight comes into the right foot, and how it changes your contact with the floor.

Next, bring the weight back into both feet equally. Repeat shifting into the left foot. You can experiment shifting the weight left and right and you can also continue the shift by moving the weight towards the balls of the toes or back more towards the heel.

Congratulations you are getting to know your standing base of support!

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Connecting to the ground

unleashes expression.

Repeat the standing weight shifting and open your awareness to the rest of the body. Notice for instance, how your spine responds to the weight shifts? How much shifting do you have to do before you notice a response in your spine?

How about your arms, do they respond by moving in some way as a result of the weight shift? You head? You can learn to allow your whole body to respond to the weight shifts in your feet.

Conversely, notice what happens to the weight shift if you hold your breath? if you lock your hip joints? stiffen your head and upper spine? It changes, doesn’t it?

Weight shift sitting…

Apply the same exploration in sitting by shifting your weight in your base of support, the sitting bones. Feel them interact with the surface you are sitting on. Apply the same weight shifting exploration as above and notice how your spine, arms and head respond to the weight shift.

Take this weight shift exploration into playing! With instrument in hand or sitting at your instrument, play long tones or slow scales and do the same weight shift exploration.

Learning to honor your base of support when playing opens up a whole new level of expression. The flow in your body translates to the flow of your phrase. Weight shifting makes a fantastic practice break, resetting your body for music-making!

Be curious & explore! I would love to know what you find.



Movement Matters!

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Sound emanates from the movement of air.  Approaching music-making through movement offers solutions to playing obstacles.  Movement matters!

When a musician’s movements are free and fluid, the music also embodies these qualities.  In music-making, this translates into expression facility and confidence. 

In your next practice session ask yourself, “What are the movements I need to play/sing this?”  The answer to this simple question is not a complex mathematical equation, it is simply movement which agrees with the body’s anatomical design.  Moving in concert with the body's design allows elegant and expressive coordination, which is ideal movement for music-making.

Barbara Conable’s ground-breaking resource, What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body (GIA), along with companion books authored for specific instruments, offer musicians information and tools to reclaim natural free movement.  I love working with musicians to fully integrate movement as the foundation to their playing. 

I invite you to allow movement to be the foundation to your music-making.  Movement provides solutions to technical, expressive, confidence and physical discomfort and reveals access to expressive freedom. Stay tuned for more on this....