November 20, 2012

Hands: Move Well, Avoid Injury

Amazing discoveries for some of us. Because we don't always have a clear picture of how our body mechanics work we as musicians misuse our body causing pain and injury. It's good to look at these video series ( yes there are more) on how the hands, arms, shoulder, neck, back etc really function in a natural way. You can learn about this doing Tai Chi or Alexander technique. There may be others but we need to raise awareness. 

 Erroneous preconceived ideas about the use and the functioning of the body.

 F.M. Alexander (founder of the Alexander Technique)
"Your brain actually creates a representation of the size, structure and functioning of the muscles, bones and joints in your body.  One thing that many postural scientists assert is that this representation always trumps reality.
In essence, this means that you will try to move in accordance to how you believe your structure works, whether that belief is based upon truth or fallacy. (Again, you’ll strain trying to bend at joints that don’t exist, for example)
Of course, much of this “belief”  (or misunderstanding) is on an unconscious level, and has been cultivated by a lifetime of habit. Equally unfortunate,  some of this belief is conscious, due to misinformation. Too many times I see musicians creating excess strain as they try to carry out some bad (anatomically counterproductive, if not impossible) advice given to them by their music teachers.
But whether below the level of consciousness or not, the unfortunate truth for musicians is that this misconceived sense of self, multiplied by thousands of repetitive movements everyday (practice),  leads to strain, injury, poor coordination and inconsistent technique.
The good news is that you can change your misconceptions about how your body works. You can learn to move more in accordance to the design of your structure as it relates to gravity.
How? Start by gaining some knowledge. Get a basic understanding of the structure and functioning of your musculo-skelatal system. Look at pictures from anatomy books and study the structures. Experiment with your own body to find where your joints are and how they work.
I’ve come across a tool that is highly useful for helping you to gain a clear and accurate understanding of how your body functions as you move and maintain posture. It is a marvelous DVD produced by Barbara Conable (edited and narrated by Amy Likar) entitled Move Well, Avoid Injury: What Everyone Needs To Know About The Body. "

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