Hello and welcome,

I present you in about 10 items, the issues I like to develop during days spent in contact with professional musicians.

 

AN EVERYDAY CHALLENGE

Pass down music and pleasure of the effort

Sometimes the musician integrates functional errors very early: the search for an excessive physical relaxation leads to many compensations. The shoulders, the wrists, the stomach, the thumbs, the tongue are the most targeted areas in this search of relaxation.

So many advices passed from generation to generation which maintain these confusions with consequences on the comfort when playing, on the velocity or the endurance.

Thanks to a more conscious approach of the functional anatomy, misconceptions have been progressively replaced. The necessary tools to expression, velocity and joy of playing make the learning easier.

 

FROM PEDAGOGICAL CONFUSIONS TO A FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY

Instrumental and vocal didactics rapidly progress and can now rely on the functional anatomy.
It is essential to include this knowledge into pedagogy.

It is time to decipher these confusions and realize, for example, that immobility is one of the main causes of the functional pathologies of the musician.

The lack of ergonomics of gesture, perfectionism, forcing and neglecting breaks are all reasons which shows the importance of work organization.

Just like the repetitive work of the musician which is considered as a factor of hardship.

 

ERGONOMICS OF THE GESTURE FOR A BETTER ENDURANCE

Music involves repeated biomechanical solicitations, that may cause the abandonment of the practice or may strongly slow down it by weighing psychologically on the health.

The qualifying elements of repetitive work which are generally accepted as a factor of hardship are:

– the execution of repeated movements,

– a solicitation of the same joints and body segments,

– constrained realization (tempi, nuances, interpretation),

– during most of the working time.

 

A FUNCTIONAL ANATOMY AT THE SERVICE OF MUSIC

 

It does not mean to teach anatomy but to offer musicians shortcuts in response to problems encountered (back, neck or shoulder fatigue, hand-holding difficulties, of independence, of fingers, laxity, anxiety etc.).

The instrumental technique can be simplified by taking into account the functional anatomy.

These balances in the service of music must be preserved and optimized in order to play for a long time.

 

EMOTION MANAGEMENT AND RESPIRATION

Getting on stage with the difficulty of managing your emotions move you away from the joy of playing.
Playing without emotion (submerging) does not mean playing without musicality.

Develop your physical landmarks, those that anchor and stabilize you.
Mismanagement of emotions limits technical abilities and expression.

You limit your endurance and that is exactly what is stressing you.

So you have the choice to go on stage calmly, staying connected with your feelings or get lost in your emotions, it is one or the other.

Also, respiration is often used to manage emotions.

But, while you are performing, a too low respiration (abdominal or deep or ventral or diaphragmatic) does not relax you.

All these informations allow musicians to become more efficient in their practice.

 

STABILITY AND TONICITY: THE KEY OF RELAXATION

“Technically, wrist stability is the key to free the fingers.
But, the wrist “suppleness” is too often taught.”

Another example of confusion : the thumb “relaxation” is often sought.

However, the thumb is the most important finger on the hand, it contributes to the stability of the wrist and the palm.

The thumb stability, fixed or mobile, offers a leeway to the other fingers.”

The loss of reference points and “good” sensations are obviously very anxiety-provoking.

Becoming aware of these confusions helps the gesture optimization, the recovery and also increases the joy of playing.

These confusions disturb your hand function and favors »tendonitis » and other dysfunctions.

 

FUNCTIONAL DISORDERS

The functional pathologies of the musician are well indexed today.

– musculotendinous overwork syndromes (inflammatory or not),

– nerve compressions,

– functional dystonias.

 

Other disorders as much crippling also exist (not listed as pathologies):

– painful contractures,

– difficulties concentrating, organizing,

– negative stress, performance anxiety…

“Tendinitis” : a word improperly used which entails many confusions. These embarrassments can be disabling.

 

TONGUE AND RESPIRATION

An other example, the lack of flexibility when producing a low frequency comes from an excessive relaxation of the mask. This discomfort makes you compensate, creates unnecessary tension and fatigue.

We must remember that the quality of the mask and the lips depends on the dynamics of the tongue and the respiration. The tongue is directly related to the management of the air flow and avoids the compensation of the mask or the lips.

Focus on the mask itself is a source of tension:

– Your jaw is drawn tight, you clench your teeth, tense your neck muscles, your throat is closing.

– The agonist/antagonist muscle balance of the mask can be disorganized.

– If the lips compensate, they get tired and can overwork.

To maximize your mask or your lips, it is necessary to adjust your shoulders, your coronal plane “from toes to head”, your respiration and your tongue.

 

PREVENTION AND OPTIMIZATION

Prevention is essential to avoid or reduce the apparition, development and seriousness of functional pathologies that affect the youngest as well as the most experienced.

These days of training / coaching are given in your structures.
If you want, we build a program together.

The first day is dedicated to clarify these functional confusions.

We can continue for several days during the year with a simulation.

 

PHYSICAL, TECHNICAL, STRATEGIC AND MENTAL PREPARATION

 

Physical preparation (off- instrument)
The keys to a physical preparation before the performance (rehearsals, auditions, concerts, competitions).

Gain endurance, flexibility, reactivity, stability, strength, manage your body in space.

 

Technical preparation (with the instrument)

Make the link between instrumental technical requirements and respect of the functional anatomy:

Sound, vibrato, move your hand, tempi, nuances, air column, flexibility of the mask, attack etc.), allocating your efforts, save yourself…

 

Strategic preparation (work organization)

Learn how to organize your work time, your rest periods, your priorities, improve effectiveness…
An optimized strategy frees up time.

 

Mental preparation (State of mind)
Develop concentration, play self-assuredly in any circumstances with clear goals. A sophisticated and ergonomic approach develops the desired qualities, velocity, endurance and joy of playing.

 

You can contact me by e-mail or telephone, we will organize together the program of this coaching.

 

Marc Papillon

CV to download

contact@marcpapillon.com

00 33 (0)6 62 23 61 03

 

 

Prevention days already given in the Conservatories and Orchestras of Europe and the rest of the world (Non-exhaustive list) :

Paris Opera Orchestra – Ile de France Orchestra – Radio Orchestra – National Orchestra – Orchestra of Ile de France – Orchestra of Québec – Orchestra de Conception – Orchestra of Santiago de Chile – Irkutsk Orchestra – Orchestra of the Pays de la Loire … Conservatory of Paris boroughs – Conservatory of Montreal – Conservatory of Tokyo – Royal Conservatory of Brussels – Conservatory of Geneva – Conservatory of Lisboa – Conservatory of Helsinki and without mentioning many conservatories in the different regions of Quebec and France ..

Testimonies

Louise
Singer and chorister, Quebec - 2013

“I’m very thrilled that researchers and people who are competent in the human movement analysis have finally addressed the issue of musicians because suffering is part of the daily lives of many musicians and this is very regrettable. Thank you !  »

 

Nicolas Marzinotto
Piano professor at the Conservatory of the city of Luxembourg

“ The visit of Marc Papillon is always an event. Everyone expects to get direct answers to their physical concerns or pains and expects quick solutions. Marc takes the time to share his experience, his meetings, his travels through which we can project ourselves.

The coach / physiotherapist is qualified, the human is in harmony with his body and his current relatives, open and generous of his time, listening. More than a therapy, impressions remain even after his intervention at the Conservatory, a feeling where calm, patience, emotions merge and the wish to try a new approach of the instrument. Colleagues talk and question each other, reveal themselves. A conference on the musician’s body, resourceful”.

E.J.
Alto - Professor - 2013

“Equipped with an array of precise exercises, experienced during course work and easily adaptable, as well as anatomical notions helping me to get a better look at my own postural difficulties and those of my students, I understood during this training course, fundamental things concerning the musician’s body in playing situation. The instrumental play is done with and thanks to the body, and not in spite of it. »

R. B.
Transverse flute

I remember from these workshops that problems which seem complicated, even impossible to improve can sometimes be easy to change. Put in place the fundamentals of a good body posture : foot balance, major axis, centered and independent head, already brings an overall balance of the body. These workshops made me conscious that physiology and psychology are very much related to one another. Building a proper and optimal posture for better performance and comfort is fundamental for a musician. This research which is a job that will last all our life can nevertheless be guided by simple tools, after all. Now that I have the feeling to better understand the mechanisms

of the body, I will try to find fun and enjoyable ways to practice it.

C.L.
Accordionist - 2016.

“I remember from this training key elements on the anatomy and mechanisms involved during my instrumental practice. I also had the opportunity to discover different exercises as well as an adequate vocabulary on the muscular areas which I particularly use with my instrument. Indeed, postural exercises allow me to lessen my back pain. Therefore, by using them in order to stretch or warm up my muscles, the energy of my body and musical play becomes more and more efficient and pertinent. This training is clear and very interesting. It is a great pity that there is no such training directly integrated in the program of conservatories. Knowing better your body helps to feel it better and thus, being more musically efficent.”

A.D.
Transverse flute - 2012.

“I found all the exercices presented very simple to understand and to do. By following the instructions, you can’t go wrong and hurt yourself, so I don’t hesitate to transmit it in class. I liked an approach which is not a total transformation of the posture which requires an important investment and will, but solutions to find a stable and balanced posture, adapted to natural tendencies. The exercises take only a short time to complete and don’t require any equipment: it allows to acquire reflexes in the long run. I took the decision to do my sound exercices while

keeping a stable and engaged posture, in a position which I now find easily, after two weeks of practice. I try to keep this physical commitment as long as possible during my working session

and I have decided to spend a few minutes doing some cool down exercises after each hour of playing exceeding an hour, not only to avoid the pain, but also for the joy that I feel in focusing on myself, to dwell on my feelings.”

V.P.
Clarinet - 2015.

“I found this workshop very interesting. I have never been initiated to physical preparation. I think that’s very useful. The workshop was focused on practice in order to experiment well enough and, as a result remember the exercises. As the exercises are mixed, they can be practiced in mobility (to warm up) or in retained position (in recovery). These exercises tone or relax,and improve comfort when playing. « 

Petri Kumela
Concert Artist, Guitar Lecturer in Sibelius-Academy and Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Marc Papillon has greatly influenced the way I work. His concepts and methods about ergonomy and playing an instrument with ease are game changing in their simplicity and functionality. The results in my own playing and in that of my students are clear and impressive.
 
Ursula T.
Pianist, Mexico 2014.

« I remember from this course the idea that we can take advantage of stage fright and not suffer, that’s why it’s recommended to find what you gain from a problem, to focus on what is good, and not only on what is constraining.

I realized that physical signals reveal mental states. The posture optimization and mental work are intimately linked, they conform the whole body. I became aware of the importance a musician must give to gravity, because it is constantly imposed on him. In the same way, I was able to remember that the musician would gain in psychological health if he knew how to detach himself from the point of view of others. The exercises really helped me because they are precise and short, they provide an easy to practice and effective routine. This course was a wonderful source of inspiration for the creation of my educational tool.”

J.F.
Transverse flute student - 2012.

“What I remember from these two days are the very openly discussions we had with Marc and the other students. In a very relaxed way, we were able to mention the two topics of the course in general with examples and very concrete exercises. The proposed exercises for our posture were very simple and easy to remember. Therefore, they are easy to implement in practice at home. Since I don’t have a lot of physical problems with my instrument, I didn’t feel any particular pains during the exercises, but I felt muscles I had no idea existed and the repeated exercises allowed me to loosen them up. Once again, simple and effective things have been suggested to us, and I thank the coach for giving us these key elements to help us surpass ourselves and really enjoy playing our instrument. I leave with a series of exercises which can be done daily and with a serious training which will make me want to go on stage to try them.  »

 

Andrzej Wilkus
Lecturer of Guitar and Guitar Pedagogy - Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland
In the autumn of 2015 Marc Papillon was invited as a lecturer to the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, Finland. During a few days he gave masterclass lectures, which aroused tremendous interest in our students, professional guitarists and guitar teachers in Finland. Marc’s lectures were incredibly inspiring; they opened up new approaches to the processes of guitar playing. He combined the different aspects (physical, technical and mental) of guitar playing and managed to demonstrate how to find the joy while working with such a demanding instrument.