about the course
create perceptual depth in
your musical practice & performance
Join anatomist-musician Michael Hamm LMP CCST for this experiential tour of the body-as-instrument. Learn what architecture makes us capable of resonance, poise, and presence. Reduce your pain and injury. Develop true embodiment in your daily music-making.
Musicians depend on a mind-body connection for their precision, expression, endurance, and enjoyment. Teachers of music use perceptual cues to guide students into the right mental frame.
But often the imagery we employ is divorced from the living body. We seek mastery of our muscles at the cost of feeling at home in them. We use idealized models and dissective anatomy. These can lead to many blind alleys in our technical learning -- not to mention pain, negative body image, and musical dysphoria.
Can we do better? In these fun and dynamic 2-hr classes we will come to know the body as it really develops -- and we will learn to embody it as a vital part of musical practice/performance.
We will weave together insights from modern embryology, fascia science, and somatic neuroscience, as well as evidence-based recommendations for the best care of the musician's body.
Drawing/visualizing new maps of the body
Guided awareness exercises
Palpation (with consent) of self and other
what is embodiment?
Embodiment is an exciting new field of study, with numerous useful approaches. For our purposes we define it as “The skill of perceiving, identifying with, and expressing the internal state of the body in the present moment.”
To speak in a grounded way about this subject, it helps to develop artful connections between different scientific modes:
From the perspective of embryology, how did this body form itself in the first place? What are the deep kinships between the body’s various tissues, and can awareness of these kinships instigate a richer experience of them?
From the perspective of somatic psychology, embodiment depends on certain conscious and subconscious processes. Are you aware of sensory changes in your body? Do you respond to them as gifts, as nuisances, as threats? Are you able to relate dynamically with other bodies, and with space?
From the perspective of neuroscience, the key processes are interoception, proprioception, and affective self-regulation. Where is the body in space? What are its physiologic signals? How does the brain integrate what it feels and how it feels about that information? Under what conditions do these brain systems learn/adapt? There is tremendous complexity in this field, but we can draw some careful inspiration for our daily embodiment practice.
dates & topics
Sunday Jan 19th
BODY AS WATER BALLOON
Fluid Chambers, Buoyancy, & Breathwork
Sunday Jan 26th
BODY AS TREE
Nerves & Vessels, Brain & Heart
Sunday Feb 9th
BODY AS RING COLUMN
Ribs, Jaw, Pelvis, & Spine
Sunday Feb 16th
BODY AS RESONATOR
Diaphragm, Larynx, Bones, & Sinuses