What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body (September 2021)

Anita King

Anita King

In this 5-session course, pianist Anita King will offer an in-depth introduction to the somatic method of “Body Mapping.” Our body map is our self-representation, our personal idea of our body in our brain. Body Mapping teaches us to move in relation to accurate anatomical information about the body in motion. It awakens and enhances self-perception through our tactile and kinesthetic senses, and expands our attention to include our performance space and its contents. In addition to preventing and resolving performance-related injuries or limitations by correcting faults in our body map, musicians will discover how well-coordinated movement increases both ease and control in playing, greatly enhances and expands artistic choices, and helps lessen and even eliminate any negative effects from performance anxiety. In the end, our movement and expressive possibilities will be limitless and our playing a continual source of joy, freedom, and renewal.

Anita King is Prof. of Music Emerita at Willamette University, an active performing pianist, a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a Licensed Body Mapping Educator.

Each 90-minute session will be recorded and available to registrants who may have a time conflict with the live events.

The course is highly interactive, combining presentation, performance of illustrative excerpts at the piano, and movement activities and explorations by the participants.

NOTE: The course will be taught in relation to playing the piano. However, the information and movement principles learned can be applied to any performance medium so any musician interested in Body Mapping and improving overall coordination is welcome to join.




  • Increasing our movement choices by correcting and refining our “body maps”
  • Identifying piano-specific issues related to our movement
  • Developing a “Unified Field of Attention,” the condition of expanded and continuously-shifting awareness that allows our music making to be informed by the sensations of our bodies in motion as well as a clear perception of our performance environment
  • Perceiving and cultivating “micromovements” in relation to the large range of movements available to us in any moment



  • Experiencing the benefits of balance in sitting and standing: how to depart from and return to balance in the midst of performing
  • Accessing the “core” of the body for efficient weight delivery through the bony structure, thus avoiding muscular tension and finding ease in sitting and standing
  • Understanding the importance of head balance and head movement in launching our coordination
  • Clarifying the torso/legs relationship: top half over bottom half----"monkeys, lunges, and squats, oh my!”

THURSDAY 16 September: Session 3 ALL ABOUT ARMS!


  • Understanding the structure and movements available at the four primary joints of the arm
  • Balancing the arm structure
  • Utilizing sequential movement within the arm structure
  • Securing support for the arms: the arm-torso relationship
  • Keeping the arm structure in continuous relation to the whole body by mapping the distance from the fingertip to the rest of the body in every moment of playing


When playing do we ever find ourselves holding our breath, clenching our jaw or unconsciously humming? Let’s put breathing fully and freely into a whole-body context!


  • Following the journey of the air
  • Freeing any structures that might impede our breathing (tongue, jaw, muscles of facial expression, muscles of the pharynx)
  • Embracing the sequential movement of breathing: distinguishing voluntary from involuntary muscular movement
  • Understanding the five (5) sources of support for breathing

SATURDAY 18 September: Session 5 ALL ABOUT LEGS!

Starting with the premise that performing music is a whole-body activity in every moment, this session explores the multiple roles of legs in practice and performance.


  • Clarifying the leg-torso relationship
  • Coordinating the three joints of the legs: a chamber music trio (or sextet!)
  • Finding enhanced freedom and control in pedalling
  • Thinking like a quadruped: how arms and legs relate in every moment
  • Looking to our legs as first responders to musical impulses
  • Exploring the coordinated movements of legs and torso in embodying the musical line

NOTE: Participants should have their instrument available and a few small props like a book, cup, or pen for each session of the course.


Classes held via zoom, limited to small numbers. This event has multiple classes. Missed a class? You can still purchase a ticket to access the recording.

All times are displayed in your timezone: America/New_York Edit Timezone

All sessions: €150.00
Tue 14. September 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:30 America/New_York
What Every Pianist needs to know about the Body | Class 1
Wed 15. September 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:30 America/New_York
What Every Pianist needs to know about the Body | Class 2
Thu 16. September 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:30 America/New_York
What Every Pianist needs to know about the Body | Class 3
Fri 17. September 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:30 America/New_York
What Every Pianist needs to know about the Body | Class 4
Sat 18. September 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:30 America/New_York
What Every Pianist needs to know about the Body | Class 5

Your Host

Anita King

Anita King