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Exploring Body Mapping Concepts While Driving


As a musician who frequently travels across the state of Texas for teaching and

performances, I've devised creative ways to integrate Body Mapping concepts

into my time behind the wheel. While driving may appear routine, it offers a

unique chance to engage with our bodies and explore movement dynamics.

I am convinced that if movement is coordinated while performing mundane daily activities, movement is more likely to be coordinated while working with the instrument.

Here are some techniques I've developed to incorporate Body

Mapping principles into my driving routine:


*Note: Safety should always be a priority when practicing these techniques

while driving. Use caution and judgment to ensure safe operation of the

vehicle.*


1. Inclusive Attention: Central to body mapping is the cultivation of awareness of

one's body in space. While driving, I observe the details of my car's interior,

including the distance between myself and the roof, the layout of the gauges, the

depth of the dashboard, depth and placement of cup holders, and the positioning

of seats and seatbelts. This conscious engagement enhances proprioceptive

awareness and strengthens my connection to the body. The car provides a

consistent setting for practicing Inclusive Attention. Except for minute variables,

the space will generally be similar every time you drive. We can use this

experience to extrapolate the concepts to performance venues.


2. Pronation and Supination of Forearms: Using the steering wheel as a tool, I

practice pronation and supination of my forearms. Beginning by placing my pinky

finger with the forearm in a supinated position, I gradually rotate my hand onto

the steering wheel, emphasizing the movement of the radius crossing a stable

ulna. This exercise promotes coordination of pronation and supination of the

forearms. By placing the pinky finger first and rolling onto the steering wheel, we

can ensure that the ulna remains relatively stationary.


3. Finger Movement: While steering the steering wheel, I focus on articulating

movements from the second finger joint and the first thumb joint. Through

targeted exercises, such as planting the thumb or fingers on the steering wheel

and moving from specific joints, I develop finger agility and control, essential for

precise musical performance. One may choose to finger through difficult

passages, work with independent digits, or alternate between more complex

combinations of digits.



Hand bones showing finger joint 2 and thumb joint 1

* Exercise 1: Plant thumb on steering wheel and practice movement from finger joint two.


*Exercise 2: Plant fingers on steering wheel and practice movement from thumb joint one.


4. Exploring Balance and Weight Distribution: Driving offers an opportunity to

explore balance and weight distribution while seated. I consciously shift my

weight through my sit bones into the seat, experimenting with different seat

placements, angles, and adjustments to the backrest and headrest. This

exploration informs how subtle postural adjustments can affect comfort and

stability, both in the car and on stage.


By utilizing driving time as an avenue for Body Mapping discovery and

exploration, I deepen my understanding of my body’s mechanics in movement

and refine my kinesthetic awareness. These practices not only contribute to

physical well-being but also enhance musical performance by improving

efficiency, fluidity, and coordination.


Embracing opportunities to connect with our bodies outside of traditional practice settings enriches overall musicianship and fosters a deeper understanding of ourselves as instrumentalists.

So, the next time you're on the road, consider transforming your commute into a journey of self-discovery through Body Mapping.

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Very creative and insightful piece, thank you! Yes I agree with the main argument: we should practice good coordination in every life situation. No occasion to do that is wrong.

I also love that you said ''relatively stationary'' when describing the ulna instead of just ''stationary''. No bone is perfectly still! There is (and should be) some joint play at every bony connection in all dimensions, including the ulna (just have your forearm lie on a table and rotate it around a bit and you will see what I mean). Life is motion, and every part has to be able to move, no matter how minutely ... the difference between small motion and no motion is incredible in terms mechanical…

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