So, what is this correlation of music and movement? Most of us are aware that ballet and Pilates go hand in hand, but music and Pilates? Well, for one thing, musicians, like dancers, have to be very aware of technique, posture, and placement to prolong their careers. And if these things are not in place, there will be consequences, often life-altering ones. I was acquainted with a young 20-something pianist who had to retrain, starting back from the very beginning, due to tendonitis in his wrists and forearm strain due to poor alignment while playing.
The other thing is breath. Musicians are very aware of their breathing patterns, even if they don't play a wind instrument. It helps with phrasing, posture, relaxation and coordination. The difference is the type of breath. Dancers are used to holding their abs in and breathing through the expanse of the ribcage, expanding the intercostal muscles in a thoracic breathing method. Most musicians use the diaphragmatic breath associated with the belly breathing technique more utilized in yoga. But, nonetheless, breath is so very important for movement! So, as I instruct my clients to breathe in the "Pilates way" during our Pilates sessions, I also stress the importance of simply breathing and not getting stressed about it so much as to impede our exercises.
Let me introduce you to three of these awesome musicians:
Mary, my fabulous flautist, flutist, flute player, whichever term you prefer, who never stops moving:
Barry, my amazing pianist, who, by the way, has equally amazing feet, from a ballet dancer's point of view:
Lucy, a world-traveling violinist with the most gorgeous British accent you could ever imagine:
When I told Lucy to keep her shoulders out of a certain exercise, she said her violin teacher tells her that all the time, which led to our conversation about the similarities between the practice of music and Pilates. This is what first sparked my interest in writing this blog post. So, thank you to these wonderful people for sharing a bit of themselves with the rest of us!