Workshop: The Embodied Musician: Creating the Foundation for Interpretation and Movement

Workshop: The Embodied Musician: Creating the Foundation for Interpretation and Movement, Anita King

This session is based on the following premise: In performance, one’s movement must be as nuanced and complex as the music. Dr. Anita King explores how the music itself is the catalyst for musicians’ coordination by examining the parallel organization of musical structure and coordinate movement. She explains how music organizes in a layered way; the many details of the melodic/rhythmic “surface” of the music are organized and shaped by the deeper, slower-moving elements revealed by the harmony and phrase structure. The musical “text” can be “translated” into movement which also organizes in a hierarchical manner. The slower-moving parts of our bodies (our legs and torso) organize and support the faster movements of arms, hands, and fingers.

A music teacher’s job is thus two-fold. Teachers must simultaneously give students tools to understand the structure of the music they perform as well as information about the organization of their bodies. Music study reveals how relationships on multiple levels create a piece of music that is an organic whole. In an analogous way, when human movement is truly coordinate, the individual parts of us also work together in constant relation to the whole.

This integrated approach to performance pedagogy represents the culmination of King’s work over two decades as a performing artist and university teacher of advanced music analysis and performance courses. Since 1997 she has engaged in research and training in human movement as it relates to performance, becoming a certified teacher of Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique.

The workshop is highly interactive and combines lecture-demonstration, performance of illustrative excerpts at the piano, and short movement activities and explorations with the participants. The workshop introduces Body Mapping, anatomical information relevant to musicians’ coordinate movement.