Harmonizing body, mind, and music
Discover more joy and ease in your playing
Playing any musical instrument is taxing on the body. It can cause tension, pain, and frustration. However, there are some amazing resources and professionals out there that are trained to help us get more freedom and fulfillment in our playing. Are you ready to explore?
What is it?
For many years, musicians, both consciously and unconsciously, have lived by the mantra: "no pain, no gain". Musicians from all walks of life, from professional to beginner, believed and continue to believe that in order to succeed, you needed to undergo a certain amount of pain, fatigue, and psychological duress. Yet, musicians started to ask an important question: "Is there another way?" And thank goodness the answer was "YES!"
Somatic techniques such as Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais Method, and the Body Mapping Approach emerged. These techniques were developed to help musicians and other performing artists use their bodies and their minds in ways that help rather than restrict their playing. Musicians, researchers, and health professionals started to join hands and a new field of research and practice was born: Performing Arts health. Musicians were given tools to help prevent and recover from pain and injury and other musicians gained the tools to unlock their true potential on their instruments. I know because I was one of these musicians (read my story below)!
Here at The Flute Practice, we have our very own expert in this field who is able to help you get started on this journey of discovery.
Meet Dr Bridget Rennie-Solonen
An award-winning flutist, with extensive and diverse music education experience, Bridget is a sought-after pedagogue, performer, and researcher, both locally and internationally. She connects and integrates decades of practical experience as a performer and educator in several of South Africa's top institutions with research-based approaches to musicians' health and well-being. Her experience and knowledge is enhanced by her compassionate and down-to-earth approach which has allowed her to successfully work with musicians globally to find more ease and joy in their playing and performing.
As a Licensed Body Mapping Educator and holding certificates in the Essentials of Performing Arts Medicine and in Functional Movement Anatomy, Bridget is particularly interested in the field of somatics and the interaction of the psychological, physical, and artistic aspects in music-making. Her work is not only beneficial in preventing and managing physical and psychological problems in performance and practice, it also helps players optimize their playing, enhancing their ability to express themselves more freely, with greater proficiency and ease. Learn more>
How we can help you
Bridget offers 1-on-1 sessions online sessions to flutists and other musicians of all ages and levels. She combines her extensive experience and expertise with kindness, warmth, and laughter. She meets you where you are, customizing each session according to your individualized needs. Her sessions will help you discover and explore your own patterns of tension, unhelpful ways of thinking, and other problems in your flute playing that are holding you back.
If you are interested booking a 1-on-1 session, please fill out this form and we will get back to you with more information and the next steps.
The reason I believe so deeply in this space and work is that I have walked this journey. When I began playing the flute, a developed many bad habits. Some of these habits I inherited from my years of playing the violin. Some habits I developed as I learned. My hands were tight, my back was often in pain and my body was not working for me; it was working against me.
I was so lucky to have been able to work with so many incredible professionals in this field. Alexander teachers, movement specialists, physiotherapists, Feldenkrais teachers, body mapping specialists, and many others. I also had the immense privilege of working with Dr Bridget Rennie-Salonen, a leading musicians' health practitioner and flutist. Over the years, the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. In many ways, every day, they still are. I have learned to be more aware, to constantly be looking out for and noticing patterns of tension. In this process, my playing was transformed. My fingers moved faster, my breathing and support improved and most of all, my sound transformed.