Simone Irmer

Spezialgebiet: Feldenkrais für Musikerinnen und Musiker

Als Spezialistin mit langjähriger Erfahrung auf dem Gebiet der Feldenkrais-Arbeit mit MusikerInnen kann ich sehr genaue und qualifizierte Unterstützung für InstrumentalistInnen und SängerInnen anbieten. Seit meinem Studium der Musik- und Tanzpädagogik befasse ich mich mit der Verbindung von Musik, Haltung und Bewegung. Die Feldenkrais-Methode habe ich noch während meines Studiums 1995 in einem Gastkurs kennengelent und meine Diplomarbeit für den ersten Studienabschnitt über diese Methode geschrieben. Ich wurde zertifizierte Feldenkrais-Lehrerin und habe das Glück, von Mia Segal, der ersten Schülerin und dann langjährigsten Assistentin von Moshe Feldenkrais ausgebildet worden zu sein.

Die ständige Erforschung in der Anwendung der Methode für die besonderen Bedürfnisse von Musikerinnen und Musiker mündeten unter anderem in dem Thema meiner Magisterarbeit 2002: „Die Feldenkrais-Methode für Musiker“ und ist mein zentrales Anliegen als Feldenkrais-Lehrerin.

Auf der Basis meiner eigenen Praxis mit Querflöte, Klavier, Orgel, Gesang, Tanz und als Referentin internationaler Fortbildungen für Musiklehrende, in Kursen, Workshops und Einzelstunden für InstrumentalistInnen und SängerInnen und somit von einem profunden Verständnis für die Anforderungen von Technik, Auftritt, Interpretation und Authentizität habe ich längjährige Erfahrung in der Anwendung der Feldenkrais-Methode für MusikerInnen und spezielle Konzepte für Instrumentalistinnen und Instrumentalisten und SängerInnen entwickelt und verfeinert. Es ist mir wichtig, nachvollziehbar zu machen, daß nicht nur das Instrument, sondern auch der Körper gestimmt werden kann und eigentlich muß, um wirklich das eigene Potenzial umsetzen zu können und was alles möglich ist, wenn Musikerinnen und Musiker ihren Körper so gut kennen wie ihr/wie ein Instrument. Ich möchte vermitteln, fühlbar und erlebbar werden lassen, in welchem Ausmaß Haltung und Bewegungskoordination des gesamten Körpers und das Gefühl/die Wahrnehmung dafür die Qualität des Musizierens und die Bühnenpräsenz beeinflussen. Der Erfolg davon ist deutlich sichtbar und hörbar.

Statements von Musikern

Mark Steinberg

Violinist, Brentano String Quartet

As everyone has, I’ve used my body my whole life for all sorts of activities. This includes ones in which I never quite realized I was using it in any particular way, such as in sitting, or breathing. Shortly before I started studying Feldenkrais I was using it to practice yoga. I was using it in such a way that I asked my shoulder alone to do a movement without the help of other parts of me and it finally let me know that was an unacceptable burden to bear and tore. I saw the tear on an MRI and was told it would be there always if I didn’t have surgery to repair it, but that I might not necessarily have to have the surgery if I could learn to live with it.

Well, I’m a violinist and have been for almost as long as I can remember, and that particular shoulder spends a good deal of time just underneath a violin. It occurred to me that it might not be a coincidence that it was the left shoulder that chose to rebel, even though I had been doing a symmetrical yoga pose when it gave up on me. Maybe I had done something to incline it toward injury. In any case, although I wasn’t living with a lot of pain in general (except for that injury) neither did I feel really at ease in my own body. I thought that maybe it was time, now that there were a significant number of years behind me, to examine how I use my body.

Basically I was hoping to get rid of the pain in my shoulder. I did. Not all at once, and not necessarily without setbacks, but I have had no pain there for years now even though the tear is certainly still there, unhealed and unchanged. Learning to use the shoulder correctly, with support from the rest of my body and with awareness of what was actually happening there, solved that problem for me.

What I never expected was the way Feldenkrais would come to be such an important part of my life. It is something that has shaped how I feel about myself, how I approach playing, how I go about learning and even how I approach other people. I hadn’t started with an idea of improving my playing, just with the hope to escape pain. But I have had astonishing revelations in terms of playing the violin. Many discoveries have been in areas that never, ever came up in discussions in all of my very thorough and excellent training. I never would have guessed that what happens with my feet could have such an immediate, liberating effect on my playing. Or my eyes. Or my ribs or pelvis. I realized I didn’t even have a clear idea of how my arm was attached to the rest of my body, and that once I did I played differently, with more ease, more freedom and more sense of possibility.

Learning through patience and attentiveness and always with comfort and positive feeling has been a revelation for me. My practicing every day is informed by the inspiration I’ve gained from Feldenkrais lessons and sessions. I am more curious about connections throughout my body, more insistent on a high quality of motion and of comfort, more truly patient and curious. Practicing has become more productive and more joyful. So many Feldenkrais lessons are based on the way babies discover how to move through space and I feel that some of this youthful spirit of discovery has become an integral and welcome part of the work I do, both alone and in rehearsing and teaching. Sometimes I get down on the floor and do movements from Feldenkrais lessons in the midst of practicing, and sometimes I get my students to do the same. I recognize the look in their eyes when they get up and take the violin again: surprise mixed with delight mixed with understanding.

The way the mind becomes, though this work, more flexible and less adhered to habit affords all Feldenkrais students more joy and capacity for growth. I find one of the great challenges of advancing through the decades to be the trap of holding more and more tightly onto one’s own habits and beliefs and proclivities, leaving less and less room for true artistry, as a musician or as a human being. Feldenkrais addresses this and give us tools and attitudes that keep us malleable in body and in mind.

I never would have guessed I would be so grateful for an injury. But indeed I am. My life would be far poorer had my shoulder not woken me up.

Statement eines Studenten

Feldenkrais and Violin

Muscular pain, stiffnes and tiredness is a part of every professional instrumentalists life. Some are aware of their problems and takes care of them. Others not. Until it is too late. I have always been aware of my own short comings concerning the use/misuse of my body as a working tool, but never until now, chosen to prioritize it. There was no direct breaking point or dramatic injury that made me apply for Feldenkrais. My mother, who knows a Feldenkrais therapeut in Stockholm, told me that it would help me with my violin playing if I through Feldenkrais could learn how to optimize my movements more.

I have played the violin for many hours for many years and I have received a lot of tuition and advice for how to do so in the “best possible way”. The different violin schools have different methods, some say the violin should be placed far out to the left side, others that it should be centered. Obviously there is no right and wrong concerning this or any other aspect. To play the violin is a fine art in the end and hence know no rules of how it should be done. Some people manages to do it well and passes all the obstacles until they reach the final destination of becoming a professional instrumentalist. Others don´t. The physical and emotional price for a muscianship is often high and the salary in most cases low. Anyhow, this is what I and my colleagues dream of doing and we are most certainly determined to succeed.

My biggest discovery since I began my Feldenkrais studies has been to realize how the violin itself plays a tiny roll in the actual playing of the violin. Good technique and sound production is reached through good moving patterns with the violin not against or on top of it. To practice the violin should not be the eternal quest of “mastering the instrument” but to practice yourself together with it. There is a big difference. I sometimes get very tired in my right shoulder, especially after long orchestra rehearsals but never until now actively tried to practice myself to prevent that. Doing exercises in how to feel the weight of my arms supported by my shoulder joints really makes me understand how much I limit myself and my body when I play the violin. After doing 5 minutes of Feldenkrais I feel much more connected to my instrument and I am directly being rewarded with a much ”fatter” sound. To constantly activate these moving patterns is what really would make a difference for me as a violinist at this point. I will most certainly continue to take Feldenkrais lessons and to do the exercises at home. Because I’m worth it.

Juan Pedro Villegas Bernabe


Feldenkrais für MusikerInnenThe experience that I had during the Feldenkrais course have been very enriching. Since a while I had problems of tension, bad posture and even pain when I play the guitar and I was looking for a solution. I decided to take this class due to a violinist friend’s advise who had taken some of this method’s courses years ago, and told me that it had been really helpful for the way she plays her instrument. I didn’t know very much about this method, so I made some research and I found that it was about the treatment with some exercises of the problem that I had, although I couldn’t imagine how was actually a session or a class of this method, I decided to take it.During the first lesson, it was very strange for me the way the class was developed, just feeling and doing apparently natural and daily movements of our body. In that moment that kind of work (just feeling and observation of my own body) wasn’t familiar for me. In the same first lesson, when we began the exercises of the method, I found them even stranger, a lot of repetitions of those movements of the body, at that moment very unusual, always feeling and watching what was happening. After that we came back to do one more time the daily and simple movements, then I realized that the feeling was completely different. I felt that even walking was easier, lighter.

So I started to understand what was the Feldenkrais method about. To generate awareness of our own body, listening, watching, and feeling what happens in it at every moment, and to perform exercises designed to take advantage and optimize to the maximum the work of every part of the body, the muscles and bones involved in every movement, from the simplest and most common to the most complex an finest as playing an instrument.

In my case, I could notice a very big difference with my instrument, before and after having performed the exercises in class and in my daily practice. I could feel how every exercise make of playing an actual teamwork of all the parts of my body, and not only the hands and fingers. Of course that the tension I had has decreased thanks to this optimization and awareness that bring this kind of work, but I think that there is a lot more that the Feldenkrais method can offer, and I´m looking forward to discover it.