Excerpts from article by Patrick Sullivan of STRINGS Magazine, December 2013 Issue
Movement Misconceptions Hurt- No Bones About It
by Patrick Sullivan
Bones cover Jennifer Johnson’s office. Over here is a skeletal arm, over there a spinal column. But Johnson isn’t a mortician or a medical student. She’s a Canadian violinist, author, and educator working to help musicians learn how proper movement and body awareness can ward off injuries, improve performance, and even fight stage fright……..
Learning to Read the Map
The body map, Johnson explains, is an internal representation of oneself- a diagram in the brain that’s built up and adjusted throughout life based on experience and example. Inaccuracies creep in and cause restrictions and imbalances. For string players, such misunderstandings can inflict pain and injury, as Johnson knows firsthand………
Re-Mapping the Body
Carpal-tunnel syndrome and other problems don’t happen because a musician plays the violin-they happen because of how he or she plays the instrument. “Not until I gained structural balance and freedom of movement did I start to experience violin-playing a s a natural activity,” Johnson says. Her book also explains dozens of specific misconceptions and offers “remapping” exercises aimed at helping string players correct them. Do your heels get tired or sore during practice sessions? The problem, Johnson says, often stems from “mis-mapping” the small, rear bone of the lower leg as the bone that should bear your weight. It’s better to send body weight through your mid-line core and down to the sturdy, larger bone in the leg.”