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Movement for Musicians

Posted by Kimberly Hankins on
Movement for Musicians

This project has been something in my mind for the last three years. About ten years ago I developed tendinitis in my left shoulder due to overplaying and began researching the cause of this injury. I knew of other string players that practiced more than me without any issues, and so I believed that it was something about the way I approached my instrument, rather than a physical ailment from overuse, that caused my injury. I stumbled upon Bikram Yoga, which I credit to helping me work through the tendonitis and sparked for me a long journey of experimentation with different mind-body practices.

Fast forward to Spring 2017 when I decided on a whim to enroll in a Stott Pilates certification course offered through Indiana University as an elective credit. I learned so much about anatomy/physiology, but also postural analysis in regards to the skeletomuscular system. From there I created the foundations of what would become the Mvmt4Musicians principles, and it inspired me to continue research into anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, fitness, and mind-body practices.

I am currently a 200hr RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) with the Yoga Alliance, in addition to other fitness formats, and I use my knowledge of the way the body works in my approach to teaching yoga and viola lessons. 

I strongly believe that any practice which aims to strengthen the mind-body connection will greatly improve the way you approach playing your instrument. However, Movement for Musicians exercises target specific muscle groups which I help you to identify in your own body. Because I am a string player, I will focus mostly on areas of discomfort common to string players. Each body is different, and sometimes even with the best intentions we can make a condition worse or create other problems as a result of trying something new. I try to provide as much information as possible, so you can decide which exercises and modifications are best suited for you or your student. 

These exercises can be done before, during, or after practicing, or can be done at another time altogether. It is more important to be consistent over time, even if there is not an extended time to work on these exercises.


Principles of Movement for Musicians:

1) Awareness is the most important aspect. Feel free to modify the given exercises as needed, while being focused on the specific muscle being targeted.

2) Muscles and fascia are responsible for keeping the skeletal structure in a specific alignment -therefore by targeting specific muscle groups through exercise and awareness you can modify your postural alignment.

3) Highly repetitive movements should be countered with a combination of stretching and muscle building exercises.

4) When playing your instrument, allow for full range of motion in all joints.


*****Disclaimer: I am not qualified to diagnose, and these exercises are not intended to heal any condition. If you have any serious injury or medical condition, consult your primary care doctor before beginning any exercise or stretching routine.

*Edited: 2/3/19


*Update: Entire Movement for Musicians video series available at:

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