Ask the Teacher
A student from Chicago asks: â€œIs there a type of fitness routine you would recommend to help with my viola playing?â€
Jennifer John, Professor of Violin
South Carolina Governorâ€™s School for the
Arts and Humanities
Pilates for Musicians
By Jennifer John
This article contains previously published material which can be found in the American String Teacher August 2003 issue, pg. 78-81
The Ron FletcherÂ© Work is a comprehensive movement experience incorporating strength, intersegmental motion of the spine, and balance. Fletcher is one of the few living master teachers of the Pilates Method, which has received extensive national media coverage in recent years. Ron Fletcher developed this work over a fifty-year period of studying with such people as Martha Graham, Joe and Clara Pilates, Yeichi Nimura, and Agnes De Mille- all revolutionaries of movement and dance.
Towel work is a signature of Ron Fletcher Work. Towel work extends from simple range-of-motions exercises to beautiful patterns that challenge the advanced student to move in correct alignment through a series of complex motions. I have noted many changes from the top of my head to the tip of my toes since I have begun Ron Fletcher Work. Not only has it helped me as a performer, it has enhanced the quality of my everyday life.
Standing Centering Cues
Purpose: Awareness of these cues will give you images and tools to improve your posture.
Stand in front of a mirror with your feet together. Take inventory of the following:
Foot Centers Bear weight evenly between the three centers of gravity on each foot.
Magnets Imagine that there are magnets between the ankles, the top of the knees, and the top of the inner things. Pull these three magnets together to engage the abductor muscles and have a more clear sense of the
midline of the body.
Percussive Breathing Maintain the hollow abdominal wall as you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth making a â€œshhhâ€ sound. The sound of the Fletcher breath creates a rhythmic impulse for movement.
Shoulder Anchoring Find the neutral position of your shoulders by centering the shoulder blades.
Head Position Execution of the cues listed above creates a pedestal on which the head can move freely.
Standing Centering Cues, credit Ron Fletcher.