Why I’m moved by Feldenkrais for musicians

When my friend and colleague Buffy Owens of ConsciousMovements.com asked me if I’d contribute to her new project, I began to prepare myself to resist the temptation and offer my regrets. After all, there are only so many good projects I can work on at any given time. But once I found out that the theme was “how Feldenkrais moves me” I knew I had to say yes.

Here’s the result of our collaboration – just under 90 seconds on why and how I am moved to practice and teach Feldenkrais for musicians.

Words and music by me, technical, visuals, and vision by Buffy:

Here’s the text from the video – in case you’d rather read than listen right now. (The music, by the way, is a selection from the Narcissus Marsh Lyra Book: #18 in High Harp-way Flatt. The recording is from a live performance with Seven Times Salt back in 2008).

My name is Josh and I am a musician and a Feldenkrais teacher.
This is why I am moved by the Feldenkrais method.
In my early 20s I worked so hard at school and playing music that I hurt my hands and I was unable to play for close to a decade.
Now I have a master’s degree in music (that’s me you’re hearing in the background)
and I teach the Feldenkrais Method to other musicians
Time and again, I have seen this work help musicians:
play without pain
play from their hearts
and connect to their audience
This work moves me
it moves my students
And it moves those who hear us too.

Looking at the text now, I realize there’s just one thing I’d change. I talk about how I’ve seen this work help musicians “play,” and of course I mean “make music,” because of course this work is every bit as powerful for singers. What I’ve seen happen with this work is that musicians find their voice, expressing with the direct simplicity which instrumentalists associate with singing, and which singers find elusive under their layers of carefully crafted technique.

At the very end of the video there is a short clip from a workshop I taught for Buffy at her studio in Albany, NY. It’s from the end of the workshop, when the random assortment of musicians who came are trying out the effect of the experience on their music. You see this smile come across my face, as the magic of that musical simplicity ‘clicks in.’ They’re just jamming at random, but the sound quality, the shapes of the phrases and the way they hear and respond to each other is just beautiful. Sure, I do this work for a living, but experiencing that magic is the true reward of my work.


p.s. The video is just one of a series Buffy has made. Here are a few more which you might find interesting. (I had the pleasure of working with Bruce, the speaker in the video on the right, when I was in Albany. He’s the guitarist at the end of my video).

Ilona on Fully LivingDebra on Artful Self-StudyBruce on Chronic Pain & Guitar


So how does Feldenkrais move you?

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