2021, Volume 22
The Body Mapping Revolution: Its Origins, Consequences and Limitations
AUTHOR: Amanda Cole
ABSTRACT: Body Mapping (BM) is a fast-growing discipline, the reach of which increases with the appearance of every new title, dedicated to the players of yet another specific musical instrument. While Barbara Conable is credited as the founder of the Association for Body Mapping Education (ABME), and William Conable as the “discoverer” of BM, the story is more complex than that. The origins of Body Mapping lie in the clarity of one particular teacher of the Alexander Technique (AT), Marjorie Barstow. However, Barstow was wary of the potential dangers of BM stripped of its Alexander underpinnings and warned against its development as a discrete discipline. This article examines the origins of BM and compares it with the Alexander Technique, particularly as taught by Barstow. In particular, the author reiterates and expands Barstow’s warning of its potential consequences when taught to singers without the underpinnings of Alexander’s principles.
KEYWORDS: body mapping, Alexander Technique, parts versus whole, part task, whole task, whole person, voice teaching