Knowledge

Sharing Accumulated Experience, Insight and Expertise with You.

Our Knowledge Bank intends to provide complimentary stimulus to our classes. We publish articles, essays and blogs from faculty members, participants and members of our community that are relevant to topics and themes explored at The Exhale. Each piece is reviewed by faculty members of The Exhale, or practitioners and academics close to our organisation who share a similar field of interest, before being published. We hope that this lends the platform a sense of depth and shared wisdom that offers food for thought and contemplation. Please contact us if you would like your articles to appear here!

Standing Twist

How I Fell in Love with Yoga

by Gwendolyn Masin

When I met Clare Nicholls, I had been exploring yoga - I had enjoyed the benefits of movement in harmony with breath but I also felt that I was being led through a world where I was being shown things in random order. The arbitrary nature of how I experienced it being taught was confusing to me and kept me away from the wish to commit to: myself. Myself on the mat.

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For Claires Blog MG 2004

A Few More Puzzle Pieces

How to Happily Marry Tension Release with Better Ergonomics

by Claire Stefani

Musicians move … A LOT! This is a sentence at the core of the Body Mapping approach and it left me quite perplexed when I heard it for the first time in 2013. Me, a former athlete … how could I assume that serious movement belonged only to sports? Not only do we musicians move a lot, but we humans in general behave better physically and psychologically (!) when we accept that we are in fact made of a bunch of solid parts kept together in movement by soft tissues. Still and static means trouble for our wellbeing. Dynamic balance does sound better, doesn’t it?

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Amy Likar Blog for The Exhale Photo Abby Sink

Creating the Virtuous Circle

Musical expression and physical freedom, ease and presence as the goal of practicing

by Amy Likar

Through working with and practicing Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique for over 29 years now and I have become firmly convinced that musical intention helps free the body and a free body helps free musical intention. Organizing ourselves physically to create musical expression facilitates an easier process in the practice room. Clear understanding of the body in motion leads to a more expressive approach to music making.

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Challenges for the Aging Musician

by Janet Horvath

Playing a musical instrument is an amazing endeavor. It’s thrilling when a performance is everything we want it to be and the audience erupts in applause. If we’ve conveyed the beauty, meaning, and emotion of the music, and not the physical effort, we’re gratified. Behind the scenes though, every time we pick up our instruments, we are challenged on every level.

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Feldenkrais for Your Grounding as a (Musical) Inspiration

by Paul Pui Wo Lee

Every Sunday with the musicians here at The Exhale, I feel the Zoom meeting room glow with an aura of care - an air of artistic and living dignity. This Sunday, after quite an extensive Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® (ATM®) lesson, here are some of the responses:

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Forest_by_Tabea_Reusser

Meditation on Silence

by Janet Horvath

As a young cellist, one of the first things I learned was that a page of music waits, quietly. A musical score, says pianist Jeremy Denk, is “at once a book and a book waiting to be written.” The act of playing music is an act of recreation—which brings to life the intentions of the composer.

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Masin Vardai Frankl GAIA2016

Body Mapping in the Music Studio – Part 2

Musicians Move! A Body Mapping Example

by Jennifer Johnson

One injury that commonly appears in young students is pain and tension in the muscles of the shoulder and upper back region. Teachers often ask about it and though its cause is always related to a head that’s not balanced on the spine, or ribs that aren’t moving freely enough with every breath, the root cause is that the whole arm has not been mapped. For this reason, I am including in this article a brief (and slightly edited) excerpt from Teaching Body Mapping to Children which addresses this problem.

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Gwendolyn_Seated

The Whisper in the Gaps

Meditation Meets Creativity in a Time of Lockdown

by Rolf Hind

One of my first yoga teachers made an observation that has stuck with me. The difficulty with yoga, he said, unlike other things in the world that yell for our attention, is that it whispers. And so its values and message are often ignored, or drowned out.

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DSC9495 - Gwendolyn Masin in the Woods for Amy Littlewood Self Trust Blog

Self Trust

A Musician’s Secret Weapon

by Amy Littlewood

‘I’ll just go over that passage one more time’. These sound like the words of a diligent student? Well… not in this case! This was me, back when I was at music college. On the face of it, my practice looked to be well structured, detailed and with hours of commitment each day. Why then, did I not feel adequately equipped when I walked out on stage?

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Body Mapping in the Music Studio – Part 1

Musicians Move!

by Jennifer Johnson

There is a story about Jascha Heifetz being greeted backstage after a performance by an admiring fan. She gushed to him “Your violin makes such a beautiful sound!” Still holding his violin, Heifetz held it up to his ear and said “Funny, I don’t hear anything!” His point, of course, was that regardless of how wonderful a violin is, no sound will emerge from it at all until the player sets the strings vibrating and that it’s the skill of the player that makes it sound beautiful or not.

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Aisling Casey Body Mapping Workshop 09 Deirdre Daly2020

How I Stumbled Upon Body Mapping

by Aisling Casey

I stumbled upon Body Mapping while investigating better ways to explain how to do certain oboe techniques to my Conservatoire students. Many of the books I read on oboe technique either contradicted each other or contained statements that I just didn’t agree with. Eventually I came across Oboemotions by Stephen Caplan, a guide to oboe playing using the principles of Body Mapping which resonated with me as being a healthy and sensible approach to playing the oboe and prompted me to find out more. Finally, someone was explaining oboe technique based on the truth of the anatomy and HOW we use our bodies.

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Chamber Music - Why We Should Facilitate It

by Joanne Green

As a one-to-one instrumental teacher, do you play duets with your students? Or accompany them on the piano? Do you get your students together to play chamber music? Do you encourage them to play in a string group or attend group lessons? Do you encourage them to join an orchestra? I think we all understand that music is ultimately a type of social glue; a way to bring humans together into a close-knit community. To study and play only in isolation defeats the purpose of learning to play in the first place.

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Gwedolyn Masin Violinist Founder of The Exhale Blog

Reframing the Big Picture

The Origin of Human Movement

by Gwendolyn Masin

Call it an obsession, but I notice how people walk, how they stand, how they sit. When I see people, I see posture, and I feel their presence as transmitted through their body. So, it strikes me that so many violinists have been trained or exposed to teaching that either doesn’t confront posture, or indeed, teaches stance and motions that are not in harmony with natural body movements.

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