What is it about?

This mixed study was designed to investigate the influence of non-judgmental body awareness on the sound of high string instruments. Three somatically oriented, attention-focusing body journeys (body scans) were introduced to the 11 participants. Audio recordings and interviews were conducted post hoc. They show a positive correlation between the subjective experience of ease participants reported, and objective sound volume or stability. Increases of sound volume or stability were often accompanied by non-voluntary changes in body-weight distribution, indicating that body awareness has a direct influence on the musculoskeletal system.

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Why is it important?

In view of the reportedly high numbers of playing-related health problems in professional orchestra players, more research should be carried out to examine the effects of body awareness on instrumental playing. Further studies could explore the impact of body awareness on instrumental sound as well as instrumental technique, the interplay within an ensemble, and psychological and physical well-being, including stage fright, professional stress, and related health issues.


Body awareness is a straightforward means of acquiring self-contact in an open-minded manner. The body always offers the possibility to become aware of the present moment. The presented body journeys put the focus on the lived experience; they are easy to carry out and therefore highly suitable for introducing body awareness in a teaching environment. They create a field of mutual learning. Body awareness can open musicians’ sensory perception and encourage the development of self-knowledge and stage presence. Sound analysis allows additional quantification of the influence of the personal experience on instrumental sound.

Claudia Dora

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Exploring the influence of body awareness on instrumental sound, International Journal of Music Education, April 2019, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0255761419827342.
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