"It happens very rarely, but when it happens, it's worth waiting for, that the instrument becomes part of your body."-Jack Brymer
Twenty five years ago I began speaking and writing on an original topic that I call Pulse Patterning. This transformational technique, which can benefit all seated musicians, is based on a technique by Mosche Feldenkrais, the noted practitioner of mind-body awareness, for reeducating the body to find comfort and ease while sitting.
No matter whether you become a pianist or violinist, a dancer, or an accomplished athlete, it takes years of training to develop the refinements of your technique and art. Pianists and instrumentalists focus their attention on fingers, wrists, arms and shoulders. However, I would like to propose that a functional use of the hips while sitting is as equally important as the skillful use of the hands. This inclusion of the hips as part of a performer’s technique has been historically ignored. Free and purposeful movement in the hips will create an integrated and holistic technique for any seated performer…pianist, violinist, cellist, flutist, et al.
Recently retired from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, after a career of 45 years, Charles Aschbrenner now holds the appointment of Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Music. He has lectured and performed both as soloist and collaborative pianist throughout Michigan and the Midwest as well as in Mexico Portugal, France, and Russia. With degrees from Illinois and Yale he continued his studies with renowned teachers Nadia Boulanger in France and Adele Marcus in New York City.
His piano students have entered graduate programs throughout the country and ultimately have entered careers in teaching, performance, church work, and opera and musical theater coaching and direction.
Also a licensed instructor from the New York Dalcroze School of Music, Aschbrenner continues to teach the required Euthythmics component of the music major program at Hope College.
Additionally trained in the Taubman, Alexander and Feldenkrais work, Charles Aschbrenner has long been interested in the use of the body in its most efficient, unified and creative manner leading to a virtuoso and musical technique free of limitations, stiffness, pain and injury.
His innovative presentation “Pulse Patterning” was first given at the 1993 national conference of Music Teachers National Association in Spokane, and has continued to serve as a basis for articles, a website, and presentations at international conferences including MTNA in Toronto, World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas and EPTA in Novi Sad, Serbia. MORE ABOUT EARLY YEARS
To help train students to find freedom at the hips when sitting, there are some helpful warm-up exercises to get the body moving. At the piano, I have students grasp the piano at the top of the fall board, hands next to each other, and then ... READ MORE
After doing some warm-up circles, it’s time to take Pulse Patterning to your instrument. Each instrumentalist can find simple technical exercises to do while moving forward and back, side to side, and especially in circles. From ... READ MORE
If, as an instrumentalist you are comfortable sitting full back in the chair and using the chair back for support and without compromising technique or musicianship, then you are safe. For most performers there is a need to sit more forward ... READ MORE