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ment could almost be 'seen' still shaping the body, even
when it was still in its case.
Through cross-fertilization from the world of dance
concerning body use, and the proliferation of the Alex-
ander Technique and other forms of re-patterning the
use of the self, musicians and their teachers as a class
have become more aware of postural and movement
issues. Paying attention to self-use issues can certainly
affect both the quality of playing and the longevity of
the professional player.
Here are a few examples from the classical repertoire,
though the same problems and the same principles
would apply to rock, jazz, and traditional musicians. In
the following examples, we presume right-handed
players, as the pictures show. Many of the assessments
would obviously switch sides with a left-handed player
and instrument.
Fig. 10.10 Baseball outfielder.
relent and stretch to allow the DFL on the inside to pull
the ball toward her. Conversely, the DFL on the left leg
is lengthening, allowing the foot to stay on the ground
until the last possible moment (any nano-second now).
This interplay can be seen in skiing, skateboarding, or
any sport such as football where side-to-side motion is
part of the movement. It is then that these normally
stabilizing lines become part of the movement and need
to work reciprocally.
Cellist (Fig. 10.11)
Although this player demonstrates fairly good body
use, we can see that the Superficial Front Line is signifi-
cantly shortened, pulling the head down toward the
pubic bone. This will negatively affect breathing during
playing, as well as putting long-term strain into the
lower back.
Secondly, the left Lateral Line is shortened, pulling
the head to the left, and shortening the distance between
the left armpit and the side of the left hip. This pattern
is likely, over time, to pull on the core line, the Deep
Front Line, and require compensations there that could
have negative long-term structural and even physiologi-
cal effects, as in a fascial shortening of the quadratus
The sets of Arm Lines are used differently, of course,
between fingering and bowing. In both cases, the arm is
held abducted by the coordination of the Superficial and
Deep Back Arm Line, and the playing depends on the
opposition of the thumb and fingers - the Superficial
and Deep Front Arm Lines. The fact that the bowing arm
is held further away from the body, both to the front and
out to the side, contributes toward the tendency to coun-
terbalance by shortening the left LL. Slightly dropping
the right elbow and lifting the left while playing can
help to counterbalance this tendency. Pressing into the
left foot a bit more than this fellow is could also help
center his body relative to the cello.
Baseball (Fig. 10.10)
Once more we go into the air, but with a difference. The
left hand is making the catch, almost exclusively with
the Superficial Front Arm Line. The Superficial Back
Line has been shortened by the leap, with the head,
spine, and right hip hyperextended. The Superficial
Front Line is containing that hyperextension, keeping
the ribs engaged with the pelvis. The right arm is not
apparently bearing much weight, but notice how impor-
tant this touch of the ground is to the orientation of the
player to the ground, his body, and the ball.
Clearly the left Spiral Line has shortened to turn the
ribs toward the ball, while its complement is lengthen-
ing as much as it can under the circumstances to allow
the left arm to come up in the air. The right Front Func-
tional Line assists the SFL in stabilizing the front, and
the left FFL is stretching like the Spiral Line to allow the
arm up. The left Back Functional Line is contracting to
get that arm up there, working off the extended right
Violist (Fig. 10.12)
The tendencies of the cellist are magnified in the violist
or violinist, owing to the necessity to clamp the instru-
ment between the left shoulder and the left side of the
jaw. Although the photograph shows trained good use,
the shortening of the left Lateral Line is still clear, and it
extends into, and is often sharply present in, the neck.
This chronic shortness can sometimes lead to impinge-
ment problems, either through soft-tissue tightening or
actual stenosis, which can adversely affect the ability of
the left hand to finger properly. This problem can be
ameliorated, if not solved, by adding an extension to the
Musicians the world over are among those who deal in
intense concentration around an object which cannot
change shape. The tendency for the body to shape itself
around the solid instrument is very strong in all types
of music. So strong in fact, that, during a time when I
enjoyed a vogue with London's orchestral musicians in
my practice, I could often accurately anticipate the play-
er's instrument before being told, just on the basis of
body posture. The accommodation to the flute, or violin
(or guitar or saxophone) was so clear that the instru-
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