Body Mapping

William Conable, professor of cello at Ohio State University School of Music developed body mapping. Conable observed many of his own students and came to the conclusion that students who had a good perception of how their bodies work, had much more responsive and expressive tone(47).

Body mapping is your mental image of how your bones work. If you have an improper or inadequate body map, your joints may be working harder than they need to. As children we all had perfect body maps, but due to bad habits, most of us develop an improper concept of how certain parts of the body work(48). The body map is something that is learned just like talking or walking. Through experiences with your joints and limbs, a body map is established. Since the body map was learned at birth and then modified later in life, it can be changed(49). The first thing the flutist needs to do is develop inclusive attention. Inclusive attention is a state where you are aware of all your surroundings and your placement. For example, when a performer with a correct body map is performing in front a full house, she is not only aware of the stage, the audience, and the music, but also how she is standing, and how her arms and the rest of her body are working together(50).

If a flutist believes that his arm works a certain way, then he will use it a certain way. How he believes his wrists work is governed by how much movement he can make with them. If his body map for his wrists is incorrect, then he might use his wrists improperly. If a musician has pain in his wrists and understands how the wrists work from his body map, then the pain in wrists is being caused by another part of his body.

Next Section: Closing

This section is part of an article that can be found here: Arm Pain while playing the Flute.