Body Mapping

Body Mapping is the technique Dr. Lea Pearson uses to train musicians how to effectively and efficiently use the body to play with the least amount of stress and overwork.

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What is Body Mapping? Body Mapping is an educational tool that reframes music education and performance as rooted in movement. Since every sound is created by movement, we need a clear understanding of how to access the body’s design in order to create the sounds we want. Specifically, Body Mapping addresses the way we use our bodies and the way we pay attention during the hours we actually play our instrument, whether practicing or performing. By learning what our current body maps are (see below) and correcting any inaccurate maps, we replace our misunderstandings with accurate anatomical information.  These new understandings then help us to create fluid, expressive music making and to secure and enhance a lifetime of playing.

What is a body map? A body map is any map in the brain that represents how we think about our bodies. These maps include details of the structure, size and functioSitting balancedn of bones, joints and muscles. Like road maps, which help us navigate our environment, body maps govern how we move and play. Our brains have many other such maps that control our visual and spatial perceptions. Because body maps govern movement, accurate body maps allow movement that is efficient, fluid and free. When maps differ from the actual body structure, movement becomes awkward, stiff, and possibly injury-producing. By learning to map the body’s natural processes of balance and support, musicians can develop the ability to sense when they are using their bodies well, just as they learn to sense when they are playing or singing in tune.

How is Body Mapping important to musicians? Natural, free movement is the foundation of great music-making. Since movement is governed by body maps (our understanding of the body’s structure), Body Mapping may be the most effective way to train the fine and gross motor movements that musicians make. An understanding of this process is an essential foundation for vocation or avocation.

Body Mapping can help us in 3 major ways:

  • to relieve pain caused by playing-related movement
  • to identify where in the body we overwork and learn more efficient ways to use the body
  • to become more comfortable in performance by learning reliable and consistent habits, and discover how to focus attention

How can you benefit from Body Mapping coaching? Here are a few examples of how musicians are finding this information essential to their careers.

  • Sandra, who had jaw pain and the beginnings of TMJ syndrome, learned how the head balances on the spine and how to get support for the whole body by accurately mapping her spine. She reduced neck tension and relieved her jaw pain.
  • Rafael, who had shoulder pain, learned the correct locations of the 4 arm joints and found it much easier to move the trombone slide.
  • Tenisha, a former dancer, discovered how her training had caused a misunderstanding of “posture” and relearned a comfortable way of standing and sidiaphragmincontexttting that resolved her years of back pain.
  • Caroline discovered how her inaccurate understanding of the diaphragm was causing limitations in breathing, and gained a new perspective that enabled  her to breathe more deeply and sustain phrases longer.

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