body mapping

Bill Conable, Alexander Technique teacher and Ohio State University cello professor for many years, developed Body Mapping. He observed that students moved while playing their cellos according to how they thought they were structured, rather than moving by the anatomical facts of their structure.

His wife, Barbara Conable, also an Alexander Technique teacher, designed a course of study around the body mapping concept, title, ‘What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body.’ She trained teachers, called Andover Educators, to disseminate the information. Barbara was adamant that anyone could benefit from Body Mapping, without the traditional hands-on Alexander Technique instruction. An important insistence, especially in this pandemic year of online learning and teaching.

A Barbara quote: ‘the Body Map is one’s self-representation in one’s own brain. If the Body Map is accurate, movement is good. If the Body Map is inaccurate, movement is inefficient and injury-producing.’ In utilizing Body Mapping, we can alleviate the misery of body mis-use. With an accurate body map, we can then choose movement in keeping with our elegant design.

(A cautionary note: We can all go happily down the rabbit hole of anatomical studies, traveling farther down into the many details, at the expense of our inclusive awareness and whole Self coordination. So. having given your thinking, as we do in Body Mapping, to parts, always return to Mr. Alexander’s discovery, the primary coordination of head and spine. )

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