body use wind instruments

The evaluation of the use of the body in the study of wind instruments.

An opportunity to reflect, detect and correct problems in time.

Edmon Elgstrom sent us this article and we found it so interesting that we wanted to share it with you.

Where does the need for an evaluation study start?

The fact of finding wind instrument students making an incorrect use of their body when playing, to a greater or lesser extent, is a practice that we can find in our music schools and conservatories.

However, we cannot forget that in order to end up playing correctly, sooner or later it will be essential to correct the bad habits acquired, which will mean undoing part of the path undertaken and, at the same time, making an investment of time, will, effort, classes and additional economic costs. However, in all cases, the existence of this problem could have been avoided in these cases if, from the beginning, it had been detected that the body was not being used correctly to play and, subsequently, a solution had been given to the problem.

Therefore, after having verified the existence of this problem, we consider the need for students who begin to practice a wind instrument, as soon as possible, or at least at the beginning of their studies. Professional teaching, an exploratory study of an evaluative nature is carried out to know how they use their body and, definitively, to be able to locate the problems, if they exist, and to be able to put them in ways of correction as soon as possible, thus ensuring that the work that each student does in their daily study is correct and effective.

What are the objectives of the study?

In the same way that a medical review is practiced in some schools to rule out the presence of pathologies and defects, or to perform a specific sports practice in which they ensure that there is no inconvenience to perform the same; In this case, we propose a study with the objective of knowing if the body is being used correctly to play a wind instrument and, if it is not, locate the points that give rise to the problems.

The evaluative study is especially important because not all people at the postural level, toning of the muscles, use of the abdominal girdle, use of breathing, etc. They are in the same situation. Consequently, to be able to sound their instrument they can use the body in different ways, depending on the situation of the aforementioned aspects, which will lead some to use their body correctly and others not so much, so the latter will begin, unconsciously , to generate resources to be able to play and, at this moment, the vices that will later be eliminated in order to be able to play the instrument correctly will begin.

The objectives pursued by this evaluation of the use of the body during instrumental performance are mainly three. The main objective is to detect and locate in students, if any, the errors that may exist in the use of their body throughout the wind instrument execution process and, once located, inform the student of what does not work well and how it should work to allow the execution in a correct way, an aspect that will make him aware of the difference between what he does and what he should do according to the laws of physiology and biomechanics.

The second objective will be to communicate to teachers and parents the existence of the problems encountered, if applicable, and inform them of the actions to be taken in order to solve them. Finally, the third objective, in case of having detected any problem, will be the contact of the student, the teacher and the parents with the physiotherapist, to be able to start the therapy that allows the correction of the detected deficiencies and, at the same time, establish a follow-up of the process between all the parties involved.

Use of the body  in the study of wind instruments
Use of the body in the study of wind instruments

Who performs the evaluation of body use?

Without any doubt, a physiotherapist will be the most appropriate person to carry out this study and carry out the subsequent diagnosis of deficiencies or bad practices that may exist, which can be an obstacle to properly play a wind instrument. The physiotherapist will be able to assess the position of the body and its use, observe the action and coordination of the muscles involved in the instrumental performance, he/she will be able to know if the muscle groups involved in a certain movement work in a correct way and will appreciate the existence of an overload or of a weakening in a certain musculature and, especially, the physiotherapist will be able to assess if the breathing, basic point of the study of the wind instruments, is carried out correctly using the appropriate musculature in its two phases, the inspiration and the expiration.

However, in any case it will be very important that the teachers themselves collaborate with the physiotherapist in carrying out the evaluation study, since it will be able to provide some professional details and the handling of the instrument that the physiotherapist may not know. At the same time, the fact that the teacher is in contact with the physiotherapist throughout this process, will lead him to be more aware of the reality of his students in the use of the body, an aspect that will allow him to plan the curriculum with more criteria of students who have been evaluated.

What to do when the evaluation has been done and we have a diagnosis?

If the evaluated student maintains an adequate posture and body attitude, his abdominal girdle works well and also performs the inspiration and expiration correctly, it is time to take advantage of, in addition to indicating that he does it correctly, to make him notice what he does and how the body really works, based on scientific criteria to play a wind instrument; Well, in this way, every time something does not work you will really know what the mechanism is and, knowing how it works, you can think about how to recover each posture and, especially, the expiratory gesture.


If in addition to the posture you are worried about your oboe tools, here you can find a universe for oboists:

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