What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body (1-5th February 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 of our body in our brain. Body Mapping teaches us to move in relation to accurate anatomical information about the body in motion, awaken and enhance self-perception through our tactile and kinesthetic senses, and expand our attention to include our performance space and its contents. In addition to preventing and resolving performance-related injuries or limitations by correcting any faults in our body maps, musicians will discover how well-coordinated movement increases both ease and control in playing while greatly enhancing and expanding our artistic choices. 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 professor of music emeritus at Willamette University, an active performing pianist, a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and a licensed Body Mapping educator.

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

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

Monday 1st February: Session 1 THE ATTENTIVE MUSICIAN


  • 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

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



  • 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!”

Wednesday 3rd February: Session 3 ALL ABOUT ARMS!


  • Understanding the structure and movements available at the four primary joints of the arm
  • Balancing the arm structure
  • Utilising 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

Thursday 4th February: Session 4 BREATHING WITH EASE AT THE PIANO

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

Friday 5th February: 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

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: €100.00
Mon 1. February 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:15 America/New_York
The Attentive Musician
Tue 2. February 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:15 America/New_York
Balance and Weight Delivery in the Human Body
Wed 3. February 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:15 America/New_York
All about Arms!
Thu 4. February 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:15 America/New_York
Breathing with Ease at the Piano
Fri 5. February 2021 Past Event
13:00–14:15 America/New_York
All about Legs!

Your Host

Anita King

Anita King