pianomap: The Course
"What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body" is a six-hour "course" that presents information vital for pianists. The introductory portion of the course explains the basic concepts of attention, quality of movement and kinesthesia (the "movement sense"). It then shows how Body Mapping can bring about beneficial changes in the way people use their bodies at the piano.
The second portion describes the structure of the spine and pelvis, the proper balance of the head, and the six principal places of balance in the body. This information helps dispel our cultural "posture myths," misconceptions that cause poor habits of standing and sitting (not to mention back pain) in many people. The course includes demonstrations of good and poor ways of sitting at the piano, and shows how to sit at the piano without the tension in the back and shoulder area that many pianists experience.
The third portion of the course examines the structure of the arm, showing the principal joints and the kinds of movements that are possible at each joint. It examines the structure of the wrist and hand, and explains why some movements can safely be used in repetitive tasks like piano playing whereas others (including some that are part of traditional teaching of teachnique) are potentially injurious.
Most of the material in this course will be new to pianists and teachers, since it is not part of traditional music education. But it is essential that all pianists and teachers have this information because it permits us to avoid and cure injury. Just as important: since the quality of sound we produce depends on the quality of our movement, a pianist who assimilates this information and improves the quality of movement will not only avoid (or recover from) injury, but will play more freely and expressively, with enhanced security and ease. This information helps us to play better as well as safer.
The course includes demonstrations at the piano and opportunities for participants to apply and experience the ideas in their own bodies. Participants will be able to see and hear the results in their own playing and that of other particpants.
"What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body" is aimed at pianists in particular, but the information presented is valuable to all musicians. This course is a version of the course "What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body" developed by Barbara Conable, founder of Andover Educators.
Sessions are limited to six participants, and run from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM with a one-hour break for lunch. Cost is $100. Participants should obtain the book What Every Pianist Needs to Know about the Body. The book and video will be available at the course, or they can be ordered by telephone from GIA Publications at 800 442-1358 or 708 496-3800, or online.
The book is also available from Amazon:
Thomas Mark is available to present the course throughout the United States and Canada. For more information or to schedule a course in your area, send an email to Thomas Mark. No courses are currently scheduled.<< pianomap home page
"Tom Mark's presentation was organized, unfailingly logical, and thoroughly researched. In addition, he demonstrated in a few brief lessons how to help a variety of instrumentalists--from organists to string bassists--achieve greater freedom of movement."
--Dr. Matthew Cooper, State President, Oregon Music Teachers Association
"Wonderful! What a great experience to know the 'workings' of the body. This is what every piano teacher should know!"
--Marilyn Brown, Director
"The presentation was really excellent! It was given with virtually no reference to written notes so that the attention could be devoted to slides, someone seated at the piano, etc. Not only was this impressive but also comforting to know that Tom had the specific information so easily at his disposal. Presented with great poise. Took the time to answer all questions completely. Wonderful workshop."