Andover Educators

FAQs

What are body maps?
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 or inadequate, movement is inefficient and injury-producing. In Body Mapping, one learns to gain access to one’s own body map through self-observation and self-inquiry. The student carefully corrects his or her own body map by assimilating accurate information provided by kinesthetic experience, the use of a mirror, anatomical models, books, pictures, and teachers. One learns to recognize the source of inefficient or harmful movement and how to replace it with movement that is efficient, elegant, direct, and powerful based on the truth about one’s structure, function, and size.

What is Body Mapping?
Body Mapping is the conscious correcting and refining of one’s body map to produce efficient, coordinated, effective movement. Body Mapping, over time, with application, allows any musician to play like a natural. It is a tool that is useful in many different settings from music studios to exercise studios and to all of the somatic disciplines such as those mentioned below. Body Mapping not only helps musicians avoid injury; it also enhances musicians’ technique. The practical application of Body Mapping to music making was developed by William Conable, professor of cello at the Ohio State University School of Music. He observed that students move according to how they think they’re structured rather than according to how they are actually structured. When the students’ movement in playing becomes based on the students’ direct perception of their actual structure, it becomes efficient, expressive, and appropriate for making music. Conable’s observations are currently being confirmed by discoveries in neurophysiology concerning the locations, functions, and coordination of body maps in movement.

What is the history of Andover Educators?
Andover Educators is the company that was founded by Barbara Conable in 1998 to train musicians to teach the course What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body. Barbara Conable, the founder of Andover Educators, is now retired from her career as an internationally renowned teacher of the Alexander Technique. “What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body”, her book and her course, are informed by the insights of F. M. Alexander, as well as other Somatic disciplines and current findings in the neuroscience of movement. In 2006, Barbara Conable retired and turned over the training of Andover Educators to Amy Likar. In 2009, Amy started the process of forming a 501c3 not for profit organization to provide structure, professional development and continuing education for musicians who teach the WEM™ course and teach according to the principles of Body Mapping. The name Andover comes from the street that Barbara Conable used to live in on in Ohio, she named her publishing company Andover Press and her LLC Andover Educators®. Many of the educators who teach the course now state it’s because we need to hear and teach the information “over, and over, and over.”

How can I start Body Mapping?
1. Purchase some of the many published resources available
2. Take Body Mapping lessons from one of our teachers.
3. Attend a “What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body®” session
4. Invite one of our teachers to be a guest at your institution or studio.

Can I teach Body Mapping to my students?
Body Mapping, like any other teaching tool, is available to all students and teachers, however, bear in mind that licensed Andover Educators® are specially trained to deliver clear, specific and systematic information tailored to individual needs. In addition, Andover Educators® are continually updating their training to include the latest scientific Body Mapping research. If you choose to use Body Mapping as a tool in your teaching, it is strongly advised that you refer to a publication written by a licensed Andover Educator in order to ensure you are delivering accurate information in an effective manner. Furthermore, if there is ever a question about the information, consult an Andover Educator or invite one to your campus or your studio for an in-person consultation.

What age do you have to be to attend an Andover Educators’ Body Mapping class?
Our teachers can tailor the class to any age group.

I want to host an Andover Educator for a Body Mapping class but can’t devote 6 hours of my students’ time. What are my alternatives?
Our certified instructors offer introductory versions of “What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body” which are shorter than 6 hours. Be advised that these classes, while valuable, will necessarily be less thorough than the full 6 hour version. Our teachers are also trained to teach this information in a masterclass setting.

What is somatics?
Somatics is a term created by Thomas Hanna in the 1970′s referring to mind/body integration. Hanna, who had studied with Moshe Feldenkrais, founded The Somatic Society in 1981 to provide a meeting ground for somatic practitioners and others interested in the mind/body field. Prominent somatic pioneers include F.M. Alexander, Moshe Feldenkrais, Rudolph Laban, Irmgard Bartinieff, and Joseph Pilates.

What is neurophysiology?
Neurophysiology is the branch of neuroscience that deals with the nervous system. More and more research is coming out in neuroscience about the mind body relationship. For many years, somatic practitioners have been relying on anecdotal evidence that is now being scientifically corroborated.

Uses of Body Mapping in Somatic Education
Because of the research going on in neuroscience more of the benefits of somatic education are being documented. The beauty of Body Mapping and learning about body maps is that the knowledge can be applied to any of the different somatic educational methods. Some of the ones that Andover Educators® like to work and partner with are the Feldenkrais Method™ and the Alexander Technique.

What is Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support, flexibility, and coordination. It enhances performance and is therefore a valued tool for musicians. Practice of the Technique refines and heightens kinesthetic sensitivity, offering the performer a control which is fluid and lively rather than rigid. It provides a means whereby the use of a part — a voice or an arm or a leg — is improved by improving the use of the whole body, indeed, the whole self. With the Alexander Technique, these benefits are accomplished by the application in one’s own experience of what Frederick (F. M.) Alexander called constructive conscious control. Constructive conscious control is a process of self-observation and self-analysis, wherein one becomes intimately knowledgeable about one’s own habits so that one can suspend habitual muscular tightening (sometimes called downward pull), where it exists, and gradually consciously replace it with constructive behavior. Often one simply suspends unnatural movement and waits for natural movement to emerge. Natural movement is discovered to be that movement which is most supported and sustained by the body’s whole complex of postural reflexes, including the much prized “Primary Control”, the natural gathering and lengthening of the spine in movement, which depends on a dynamic, initiating relationship of the head to the spine.

What is the Feldenkrais Method™?
The Feldenkrais Method™ is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. With this Method, you can increase your range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.

In group Awareness Through Movement™ lessons, the Feldenkrais teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, standing or sitting in a chair. Many lessons are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities (reaching, standing, lying to sitting, looking behind yourself, etc.). Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. Private Feldenkrais lessons, called Functional Integration™ lessons, are tailored to each student’s individual learning needs. The teacher guides your movements through gentle non-invasive touching and words. The student is fully clothed, lying on a table, or in a sitting or standing position.

What is the difference between a Body Mapping lesson and an Alexander lesson or a Feldenkrais™ lesson?
While a Body Mapping lesson and an Alexander lesson might contain similar information, a Body Mapping teacher would do no hands-on teaching, relying on changes in the student’s body map to achieve improved movement. Changes in student’s body maps would be brought about by use of verbal coaching and extensive use of visual aids like anatomical models, and by extensive demonstration, that is, the teacher is modeling the desired movement. Then, the Body Mapping teacher carefully observes the student’s movement and gives active feedback about the changes in movement that occur as changes are made in the body map. The Alexander Technique, by contrast, generally makes extensive use of hands-on instruction and is often characterized as using a process called constructive conscious control, in which a maladaptive postural pattern is “inhibited” while a more constructive pattern is learned. This learning may occur during “lying down work,” “chair work,” “monkey,” “whispered ahhh,” and other procedures traditionally used in teaching the Technique, none of which appears in Body Mapping lessons, though , actually, Body Mapping is usually taught as a part of other lessons, such as music lessons, or computing lessons, or actor training. The Alexander Technique is less often used this way. Again, the Feldenkrais Method™ Functional Integration sessions rely on hands on guidance from the teacher. What a Feldenkrais instructor is calling the self-image is what a Body Mapping instructor would call the body map. The students’ knowledge of their body maps is the foundation for movement in all of these methods.

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