Musician's health : Liberate the body and mind
The Grindea Technique
A revised extract from the Healthy Piano Technique by Carola Grindea, (Edition Boosey & Hawkes, 2001)
- Raise both shoulders high up to the ears, counting slowly - 1, 2.
- Hold them to the position, counting - 1, 2, 3, 4.
- Let shoulders drop freely, counting - 1, 2.
You should experience great release of tension in the neck and shoulders. Repeat exercise three times.
Swing both arms slowly in a circular movement holding the arms approximately 30 cm apart from each other.
- Forward - up above the head stretching the arms as much as possible.
- Backward - lateral, stretching the arms.
- Then drop them relaxed on each side of the body.
The shoulders are now in their correct position and the neck is free of any tension. Repeat the exercise three times.
This exercise requires several minutes of concentration, demanding total stillness of body with only mental directives at work. It is recommended to do it in front of the mirror so you can observe the subtle changes in your posture including the achievement of perfect alignment of head, back and the whole body.
- Stand at ease with feet slightly apart. Concentrate attention on the spine, commanding it to lengthen. However, not through movement but mental directive. By now, you should experience the sensation of the head being lifted gently and placed on the last vertebrae, bringing head, neck and body into perfect alignment. It should correct any imbalance in you posture.
- Exhale very slowly whispering "haaaaaaaa" as long as possible. Be aware of shoulders lowering, a state of relaxation in the diaphragm area (the solar plexus where we all experience fear and emotion), the arms getting longer and heavier, with great deal of arm weight flowing into the hands.
- Concentrate attention on knees and ankles: imagine them very supple and flexible. You should experience the strange sensation of lightness as if the body is floating. Such state is the perfect state of balance of the body, totally liberated of any tensions.
To achieve this exhilarating state of body and mind is easy and anyone can learn it in a few minutes. However, to maintain this state while performing for hours and sometimes with no interruptions is a much specialised study requiring slow practising with constant awareness of muscular freedom.
The Grindea technique works on several levels: Physical and physiological, by liberating the body of any negative tensions. And in addition, psychological by bringing stillness in the mind during those several minutes when practising the technique. Thus, not only the body but also the mind is free of any tensions.