Maintaining a balance between body, mind, and spirit is essential for any musician to be healthy. This is wellness. In this course vocalists learn techniques for keeping their instruments in top shape, reducing both vocal and overall stress, and managing real life factors like performance anxiety. This course will also present techniques and a detailed look at vocal anatomy, to support learning to sing virtually every style of music with a healthy, long-lasting approach.
This lab will explore posture, movement, and breathing as they relate to the act of musical production. Students will explore how they experience themselves making music and learn how to modify their own actions to play more efficiently with less effort. Self-awareness exercises will be used to improve the kinesthetic sense—one's sense of oneself in movement—enabling the instrumentalist to avoid injuries due to overuse and/or misuse, as well as helping to develop sensitivity, clarity, and power in musical production. Through increased awareness, students will acquire the ability to regulate or modify their actions to meet varying demands of practice and performance.
Whether using drumsticks, picking a guitar string, or using breath to sing, music is created by movement. Music is movement. The human body moves to create the sound waves that move through the air. We all have a picture of our bodies in our mind called a body map. This map guides every movement we make. If this picture is accurate then our movement will be free, efficient and effective. When our maps are inaccurate or unclear, movement can become labored and lead to injuries. Body mapping is a highly effective process for learning healthy, efficient, and effective physical motion. In this class you will work towards a fully realized understanding of your own physical structure so your movement will be healthy and your motion free. As a result, you will produce a better, more open, more resonant sound.
This course is a continuation of Body Mapping for Musicians 1 and introduces the study of human anatomy for the purpose of developing the awareness of our bodies in movement. The major aim of this course is to attain the embodiment of the knowledge acquired during the class. The process used to acquire this embodied understanding can be a lifelong process for self-study. This course explores how the body mapping process can be used to optimize the function of our bodies in movement and performance. Improved movement leads to healthier and improved instrumental and vocal technique. While students study "parts" (bones, joints, muscles, etc.), the goal of the course is a deeper intellectual understanding and embodied sense of an integrated whole beyond basic anatomy. Students use various modalities to deepen their knowledge, including books, videos, models, and self-study through palpation and movement. Students have opportunities to apply the principles learned in in-class musical performances.
The musician's environment, with its continual pressures and workload demands, is frequently intense. Through a regular practice of yoga, you will be better able to deal with pressures and stress. Yoga means union. It is the union of mind, body, and spirit. This course will lead you through a series of breathing exercises, meditations, warm-ups, and postures that will help integrate the mind, body, and spirit of your being. Practicing yoga will enable you to be more aware and focused in all aspects of your life.
With a firm foundation of the principles of yoga learned and practiced in Yoga for Musicians 1, this course goes deeper into the practice and its benefits. Students more fully explore many techniques including meditation, breathing, and advanced postures. Students will learn about the different energy channels in the body and how to regulate them to improve a sense of well-being.
Tai Chi Chuan, or "Grand Ultimate Fist," is a moving meditation/exercise/martial art that can complement and energize your studies, music, and all the activities of your busy day. Traditionally, it is an internal "yin" fighting style that develops grounding, relaxation, and the ability to utilize the attacker's own power to subdue them. It is also a constantly evolving art/science that promotes physical, mental, and emotional balance, and is a useful tool for identifying playing-related tension patterns and opening constricted channels of the body. Tai Chi Chuan is a slow, flowing, no-sweat exercise with excellent health benefits that requires no uniforms or equipment, a moderate amount of floor space to perform, and no opponent to compete against except yourself. This course will lead you through the first 20 postures of the 60-movement form developed by Grandmaster William C. C. Chen. Once the complete choreography is learned, this short form could be incorporated into your daily routine and would require only a few minutes to complete.
This course will explore the fundamentals of qigong and how students can employ these practices in both their musical and daily lives. Students will learn a variety of exercises as well as breathing and awareness techniques to increase the flow of chi throughout one's system. These exercises promote emotional balance, mental clarity, and an optimum physical state. Students will learn about the unique physiological benefits as well as how to apply these exercises to their instrument, daily activities, and creative endeavors. In addition, students will learn how qigong can act as a catalyst for healing or preventing an overuse injury and other health maladies. By the end of the course, students will be more able to conduct the inner orchestra of their mind, body, heart, and spirit through a state of relaxed awareness.
Tai chi can provide you with a way to maintain your sanity and health throughout life, both as a musician and as the person you are. The twelve moves of Integral Tai Chi will help you to stay grounded and will contribute to enhancing your creative and musical self. This course will explore the fundamentals of Integral Tai Chi, a system based on martial arts, yet tailored into a gentle, graceful set of movements. Tai chi is performed more slowly, more as a meditative form of exercise. Students will learn these twelve moves in a progressive method, enabling anyone to perform each movement at their own level of comfort. The course will also focus on breathing and awareness techniques to increase the flow of chi throughout one's system, promoting emotional balance, mental clarity, and an optimum physical state. Recent studies have shown physiological benefits include stress reduction, pain reduction, regulation of the lymphatic system, regulation of blood pressure, increased immunity against invasive disease, and more. By the end of the course, students will be more able to conduct the inner orchestra of their mind, body, heart, and spirit through a state of relaxed awareness.
The ancient Chinese recognized that there is energy throughout the universe, called qi, and formed a discipline to master this energy: qigong. Through a series of exercises and meditations, this class teaches students how to awaken this force within and employ its power and wisdom to activate their inner creator. This course shows students how to play their instruments in various states of consciousness and clarity brought about using qigong. As well, this course helps students optimize relationships with bandmates and members of the audience through the practice of this discipline. Qigong can harmonize the emotions in order to tap the creative essence of the muse. It can also clarify one’s goals, both short and long term. Qigong promotes health and gives a sense of balance within a seemingly chaotic world.
Using experiential exercises, anatomical studies, and journal processes, this course will improve students' kinesthetic awareness and conceptual understanding of the process of respiration as it relates to movement and vocal production. Through experiential explorations of breathing students learn to sense, feel, and differentiate the physical components of respiration. As they improve their kinesthetic understanding of breathing, their ability to use breathing responsively and appropriately for the vocal task will improve. Additionally, students will become better able to respond to directions about breathing from private lesson teachers. Classwork will consist of experiential Awareness Through Movement lessons with some time for discussion.
Continuing with the themes introduced in PSH-238, this class further explores posture, movement, and breathing as it relates to music production. With a more developed sense of self in movement, students can focus their skill toward individual needs. Half of the class will be devoted to more challenging awareness through movement lessons, with each student meeting privately with the instructor over the course of the semester. Students will design a personal program for self-improvement and maintenance of comfortable and easy movement while practicing and performing. In addition to injury prevention, the course will aid students in developing their sensitivity, clarity, and power in music production.