What Movement Methods Are Most Beneficial for Singers and Musicians?

We have decided to have a little June focus on Health & Safety courtesy of our blogger Claudia Kohl, who will be introducing you to The GYROTONIC Method, The Alexander Technique and the The 5Rhythms movemnet techniques in weekly blog posts, so watch this space! Cover Photo: Enoch Chan 2011 from gyrotronic.com

Since my blog HOW TO WARM UP FOR YOUR PERFORMANCE, I received emails asking me, what movement methods I could really, really, really recommend for singers or musicians.

The three methods I am going to introduce are: Gyrotonic, The Alexander Technique and The 5Rhythms. In my life, I have tried so many methods and I could recommend many more but my experience is that this three are the most beneficial..

The three methods have in common that besides the physical benefits, they also help to clear the mind of excess clutter, work with our system as a whole (mind-body- spirit), they increase creativity and artistic expression, all of them promote gracefulness and can have healing effects. The three methods have been developed by their founders to heal themselves. Last but not least, for none of them you need to have a dancer’s body or the flexibility of a contortionist..

To find the best method for you is a very personal process. More often than not, it depends more on the teacher, than it depends on the method itself.


The Gyrotonic Method uses specialized equipment that allows one to move with support and resistance. By moving with the equipment you receive an immediate feedback to the movement you do and develop a better sense of the flow of your movement and your intentions. It almost feels like moving through water. The Gyrotonic Method integrates the key principles found in swimming, dance, yoga, tai chi and gymnastics. This emphasizes very organic, continuous, flowing movements supported by breath patterns. Exactly this movement stimulus through breathing can be very helpful for singers and musicians.

The Gyrotonic exercise sequences are composed of spiraling, circular movements, which flow together seamlessly in rhythmic repetitions, with the corresponding breath. In Gyrotonic the joints move through their natural range of motion without jarring or compression. It increases the healthy flow of fluids in the body thus increasing the functional capacity of your organism in a natural way.

The Gyrotonic Principles:


Like Alexander (which will be explained in the blog post about the Alexander Technique), Horvath believes that it is the person's vision that guides his/her movement in the desired direction in the desired way.

Stabilization through Contrast

Unlike creating stabilization, like you learn at the gym or in physio therapy, through fixing and holding your body in a particular position, in Gyrotonic the “stabilization” is the balance between reaching (expanding) and pulling inward to the core of the body (retracting). This continuous counterbalance creates a more fluid stabilization.

Decompression of the Joints

Compressed joints cannot move freely. The stabilization through contrast is one principle to decompress the joints. To further articulate the joints, scooping, circular movements are performed.

Coordination of Movement and Breath

Corresponding breath patterns, inhaling with the intention to expand and exhaling with the intention to contract motion, are used.

In addition to Gyrotonics the Gyrokinesis method, originally called “Yoga for Dancers,” is practiced on a mat & chair. These exercises can easily be done at home or before the show.

The Gyrotonic benefits:

The benefits are promoted healing, more balance, strength, awareness and flexibility or mobility. Strengthened nervous system, flexible spine, flow of energy and improved coordination. Another reason why singers should try Gyrotonic is the opening of the heart chakra or opening of the chest, creating bigger resonance and vibration for singing. The same is true for the musician using his arms more freely.

The Gyrotonic creator Juliu Horvath

The creator of the two methods (called the Gyrotonic Expansion System) is Juliu Horvath, an ethnic Hungarian, from Romania. He was a swimmer and gymnast before becoming a ballet dancer. After immigrating to the United States he danced professionally with the New York City Opera and the Houston Ballet. Horvath suffered a series of injuries that ended his dance career, and began developing the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis Methods to heal himself and regain his strength and agility.

Claudia Kohl is an artist, Alexander Technique coach, designer and author. She is the founder of The Artists Coaching in Berlin, a studio dedicated to support artists in their creative, artistic process as well as life. She has helped singers, musicians, actors, dancers and circus artists, to build a healthy and inspired carrier. Claudia likes to work with artists suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, chronic pain, burnout or artists with the courage to start something new. She comes from a background of theatre and dance before studying the Alexander Technique and developing her own method with the artists of the famous Cirque du Soleil. As a nomad and curious soul she has traveled and experienced more than most people do in their lifetime. She believes that art is what we are and that it is our responsibility to make the world a better place. She is known for her down to earth, loving and highly inspired, engaging approach to coaching. Claudia’s insights inspire audiences around the world through her monthly “Inspiration” newsletter and online coaching. For artists in Berlin, besides one on one sessions, she offers weekly Bohemian Brunches and Artistic Vision Quests.
Author: Claudia Kohl
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