Well I’m very excited about this work because
of my own history with injury and recovery from injury. I was injured in 2012 and it was career-threatening
and my doctor said you don’t get surgery as was recommend you go see Howard Nelson and
I did and a year later I was playing again and now I’m back to playing and I have a completely
different awareness of how the body works and to use it properly and that one can actually
retrain bad habits for life. Salam is a perfect candidate for our way of
working because he’s smart and he’s attuned to himself and he really wants to get better
so I’m hoping by modifying what he is doing that he will have faith that he can actually
get better. The way I evaluate somebody who comes to see
me would be to do a movement analysis which would be analyzing their movements in standing,
sitting, lying, walking, and see if they produce symptoms and then modifying those activities
to see if I could improve the symptoms. We also analyze movements of the day — how
they walk, dress, put their t-shirt on and off and how they play their instrument and
see if they way they use their body during the day in playing matches up with what I
found on the movement analysis then it’s really clear there’s a great path towards getting
better. The work I did with Pam Frank and Howard Nelson
really transformed the way I practice and perform. When I started working with them about a year
ago I wasn’t able to practice because my injure was kind of at it’s severe point. A year later I’m having my junior recital
coming up in two weeks. I’m really excited and I cannot believe I’m
going to play almost forty minutes of music and I can practice three to four hours a day. It’s really wonderful. The way that we assess is both sides of the
equation: from the physical therapy and from the instrumental and of course, the beauty
of this work is that they are completely intertwined — They’re inextricably linked so it almost
doesn’t matter which side we address first and there is always a direct correlation between
somebody’s symptoms and somebody’s problems or discomfort or tension on an instrument. The way you play music is the way you’ve practiced. What you do all day, how you drink your coffee,
how your write, how you read, it all adds up and your body adapts to what you’ve done
with it — you get what you train for. I certainly think that the wellness programming
at Oberlin is beneficial to everyone. I would encourage every student in the conservatory
to take full advantage of this wonderful programming starting with body mapping, yoga, alexander
technique, and even the more specific programs like what Pam Frank and Howard Nelson do here.