Unless you’ve played a musical instrument you may not realize the level of coordination and postural control required by great musicians. We have had the pleasure of working with many budding musicians at Kinetic Konnections and thought that sharing their experiences might help you regard musical skills in a different light.
Parents travel from all destinations to visit Kinetic Konnections and their purposes all vary. Peter C. (Denver) and Cindy S. (Chicago Suburban-N) noted that their sons’ postures and techniques for their specific musical instruments have improved since the Kinetic Konnections sessions.
Peter, a professional musician and college music teacher, has a 9-year-old son who is learning to play piano. Peter’s son, who is also autistic, has been attending occupational therapy over the years. Although Peter acknowledges that there is improvement with these treatments, he has been especially impressed with the work performed at Kinetic Konnections. Peter and his family began coming to Kinetic Konnections about two years ago, when Peter’s sister, who lives in Chicago area, suggested a visit the Park Ridge studio.
“In the medical field, it seems like people just want to deal with the symptoms. I believe Cara (Lindell) deals with the cause, not the symptom,” Peter said. For example, Peter’s son has now improved core strength and muscle work critical to skill building, he said. As a result, his son has strengthened muscle groups that help him maintain the correct posture while playing the piano. He also is able to maintain his hand placement, keeping his arms elevated, and his technical skill continues to improve, Peter describes.
“The playing is definitely getting better, and I have to believe the finger strength and coordination skills are working well for him” Peter said of the Kinetic Konnections’ work with his son’s hands. “Cara really breaks it down and researches (the specificity of each) individual skill she is working with.”
Cindy’s 11-year-old son also plays the piano, along with the cello and the baritone horn. She came to Kinetic Konnections’ a year ago with a concern about her son’s posture and the effect it would have on his music and other daily activities.
“My son has a very good ear and excellent understanding of music theory,” Cindy describes. “The problem he faces is his performance and the execution of the work. If you can’t maintain posture, you can’t get the sound you need. You can’t get the breath, the correct tone.”
Or with piano, she worries that without proper posture, hand placement may be incorrect. Likewise, if you don’t sit up properly with the cello, you are unable to place fingers in the correct position, Cindy said. Her son has abnormally low muscle tone which affects body movement, ranging from walking to sitting. Currently, her son consciously has to think about his core stability to maintain correct posture in any position, often with verbal cueing. She hopes the movement becomes more “autopilot” rather than having to rely on verbal cueing for proper posture and other motor movement.
Since visiting Kinectic Konnections, her son’s posture has improved and core muscles have strengthened. However, Cindy acknowledges that he needs to be able to maintain correct posture for a longer period of time and the work is an ongoing process. As you plan your children’s activities for the summer and fall, consider the physical side of instrumental music. It is another way to help them develop the coordination and posture needed for success in so many other facets of their lives.