2016 Feldenkrais Conference Proposal

THE LIVING SKELETON IN MUSICAL PERFORMANCE: A TRANSFORMATIONAL APPROACH

ALAN FRASER

Workshop of interest to all practitioners, trainees and non-practitioner musicians.

ATM focused.

Friday July 8 or Saturday July 9.     

Just me presenting.

Competency Profile Relevance:

Feldenkrais learning applications in another profession (music performance and education).

Relationship to the conference theme:

I demonstrate that bringing principles of FM to musical performance can be done quickly, effectively and often transformationally. FM-style teaching can be brought to the mainstream of musical performance and education.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

1) To understand specific styles of parasitic contraction common to performing musicians (hyper-extension of the spine, lifting of the sternum to breathe, tensing of the legs and arms instead of relating them through to the core, etc.); to learn to recognize these visually and through touch while the musician is playing; and to address them in “Brief FI” sessions done largely at or with the instrument.

2) To take basic principles of whole-body standing, walking, running and jumping and apply them to the same on the keyboard (as discussed in my four books on piano technique); to learn to recognize anomalies in the standing, walking, running and jumping of pianists’ hands as they play, through aural, visual and sensation cues; and to address these in FI and ATM strategies devised especially for the fingers, hand and arm.

Participants will come away with a greater understanding of the profound link between body organiztion and musical expression (“Everything you do, sounds.”), and a reperoire of new strategies for effective interventions with musicians that empower because they relate specifically musical functions to functions of human movement. We give new meaning to the term Functional Integration.

I will teach an ATM specifially designed for musical performers, I will demonstrate music performance FI with an instrumentalist, and I will work with a pianist (if a piano is available) doing FI for the hands on the keyboard as related to the musical content of the work being performed. I will finish with a question and answer session with the possibility for some informal FI explorations of the themes that arise in the lessons. If there is time I might also screen short, illustrative video excerpts of my work with instrumentalists, singers and pianists.

For a sample of this work, please visit The Spine as a Source of Musical Expression, a lesson I taught at the Chava Shelav Feldenkrais Center in Vussem, Germany in September 2015. The lesson is a little unusual in that I chose immediately to work with this clarinettist standing up instead of having her first play sitting. She is a practitioner with 20 years’ experience, so I decided to see how quickly she could integrate things a non-practitioner might have to approach more gradually. Note that not only her sonority and agility improves through the lesson, but there’s also a significant increase in the sheer volume of her sound (for instance at “She Plays Again: New Tonal Quality #2).

Please visit Alan Fraser Biography for more background information, and also refer to my CV.

Conference proposal wording:

Taking our work into the mainstream requires among other things, increasing the integrative aspects of our work. How can we more effectively bridge the gap between ATM/FI and movement in life? In my work with pianists and other musicians I often do FI while they are playing. The parasitic organizations become more immediately apparent, and directions for improvement can appear almost spontaneously. My added verbal explanations can then help the performer integrate these new learnings later on. This workshop combines ATM’s specially crafted for musical performers plus demonstration FI-playing lessons, and suggests to practitioners new strategies they might use in their own work with musicians.

I have indicated a half-day workshop, but if you feel there is enough interest, I would be willing to expand it into a full day on either Friday or Saturday.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Fraser (Hawaii ’92)

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