What Movement Methods Are Most Beneficial for Singers and Musicians?
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
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
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
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.