#18 Body Mapping
I’ve been reading “What Every Singer Needs to Know About the Body” by Melissa Malde, Mary Jean Allen and Kurt-Alexander Zeller; Plural Publishing.
The book is designed to help singers develop an accurate mental map of the size and parts of the body used in singing, and to sense how the body moves and functions when we’re singing. I’m finding that it is an excellent resource for assisting in correcting many of the misconceptions that are fairly common among young singers.
The book explores three areas of physical awareness, body mapping, kinesthesia and inclusive awareness, and includes great illustrations as well as exercises for discovering and clarifying how these three areas of awareness combine to make singing easier.
Body mapping helps to develop a personal expertise of the size and structures for singing within one’s own body; our head, neck, torso, skeletal system, and muscles of respiration and phonation.
Kinesthesia, which is also called the sixth sense, is an important perception system for experiencing the aforementioned parts in motion as we’re singing.
Inclusive awareness is the capacity for simultaneous awareness of kinesthesia as well as the other five senses.
To learn a little more about your own body this week, try this:
Palpitate and explore with your fingers the six main points of balance in the body
1. The point where the spine and skull meet interconnect (A-O joint).
2. The point where your arms connect into the torso.
3. The point where your waist/thorax is.
4. The point where your legs intersect with your pelvis at the hip joints.
5. The point where your legs bend at the knee joints.
6. The point where your feet articulate with your ankles.
Allow yourself to rotate and bend and flex at all six points.
As you’re exploring note that the two primary points of maximum weight supported by the spine occur at the point of the A-O and at the thorax/waist.
To look at good drawings or anatomy models go online and check out http://www.bodymap.org.
Raise your hand above your head and wiggle your fingers. Notice that you have a sense of your fingers moving even though you can’t see them. This is your kinesthetic sense. Now bring your hand to where you can see your fingers and wiggle them again. Notice how your sense of their movement has changed.
There is much about singing which is hidden from our eyes, and of which we can only have a kinesthetic sense.
Sit quietly. Notice the sights and sounds around you, the feel of the air, how your body is sitting in the chair and where the six main points of balance occur. Let your jaw release and notice the perimeter, blade and tip of your tongue as it rests in the floor of the mouth. Allow yourself to note the sensations of your breath as the spine collects and expands as you breathe in and out. When we’re singing, as in this exercise, we are constantly shifting our awareness from all of our sensations, from visual to auditory to sensory, from kinesthetic awareness to conscious awareness of releasing of tension at our balance points.
Have a very fine week,
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Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs