Anatomy is a lifelong study. There is infinite knowledge to learn, but much can be accomplished in a simple, down-to-earth fashion. I teach a course in Anatomy designed for musicians with no science background. The aim is to begin to gain an understanding of the body and how it is used as we perform and interact with our musical instruments. The focus of the class is on the Muscular and Skeletal Systems. If time allows, we touch on the Respiratory and Nervous Systems. We begin by studying all the muscles and bones of the body and how they interrelate, and as we start to understand some initial concepts of kinesiology, the study of movement, we also gain insight into how these movements help (or hinder) our roles as musicians. One aim of the class is to discover how knowledge of the way our bodies work can influence our posture, alignment, behaviors, and practice techniques.
I can teach this course over a college length semester, or as an intensive weekend or weeklong workshop. One goal of the class is for students to present an analysis of their own unique body and how it relates with their instrument. Students will gain the appropriate knowledge to be able to explore various inquiries: what muscles and bones are in use specifically when I play my instrument? What have I discovered through my new knowledge of anatomy that can help me adjust my posture, make breathing easier, make certain positions on the instrument more fluid?
I like students to have access to several books and other tools for study, and highly recommend the following:
- The Anatomy Coloring Book, 4th edition, by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson.
- Anatomy Muscles Flashcards, Bryan Edwards Publishing,
- Illustrated Essentials of Human Anatomy, 5th edition, by Kay W. Sieg
- Atlas of Anatomy, 3rd edition, by Anne M. Gil Roy, Brian McPherson, & Michael Schuenke