The collaborative pianist and body mapping: a guide to healthy body use for pianists and their musical partners
ABSTRACT Musicians endure injuries at an alarming rate, largely due to the misuse of their bodies. Musicians move their bodies for a living and therefore should understand how to move them in a healthy way. This paper presents Body Mapping as an injury prevention technique specifically directed toward collaborative pianists. A body map is the self-representation in one's brain that includes information on the structure, function, and size of one's body; Body Mapping is the process of refining one's body map to produce coordinated movement. In addition to preventing injury, Body Mapping provides a means to achieve greater musical artistry through the training of movement, attention, and the senses. With the main function of collaborating with one or more musical partners, a collaborative pianist will have the opportunity to share the knowledge of Body Mapping with many fellow musicians. This study demonstrates the author's credentials as a Body Mapping instructor, the current status of the field of collaborative piano, and the recommendation for increased body awareness. Information on the nature and abundance of injuries and Body Mapping concepts are also analyzed. The study culminates in a course syllabus entitled An Introduction to Collaborative Piano and Body Mapping with the objective of imparting fundamental collaborative piano skills integrated with proper body use. The author hopes to inform educators of the benefits of prioritizing health among their students and to provide a Body Mapping foundation upon which their students can build technique.