The Music of Movement

As a musician I’ve learned that learning to move is similar to learning to play an instrument.  It’s a progression from familiarity of the instrument to fundamentals to skill-building.

I have been a musician since I was introduced to a musical instrument way back in 6th grade.  Of course, I’m drawn to the analogy of music to movement.  All musicians know that learning an instrument takes persistence, repetition, strength and the ability to listen.  Take guitar for example. The more disciplined the practice and the cleaner technique results in a clean tone.

I see movement as a symphony.  This is well illustrated by the beauty of professional dancers or the powerful grace of gymnasts.  These athletes exemplify powerful stability and elegant mobility.  A swimmers flip-turn, an overhead squat, a turkish getup, and a dismount from the gymnast’s beam are movements are magnificent when symphony is masterfully conducted and the instruments in tune.

We all know that we can’t just pickup a guitar for the first time and shred a blues solo or pick up an Olympic bar and expect to squat our own body weight.  We earn those triumphs.  To play the music means we must first learn the instrument.  We must first learn how to move and learn what movements are available to our body.  Learning the instrument means listening to the notes as their being played.

I see movement patterns such as upper and lower body rolling, dead bugs, toe touches, bird dogs and half kneel chops and lifts as the “Mary Had A Little Lamb” fundamentals of movement.  If we cannot play a three-note song than why are we trying to play “Free Bird”.   If you want to overhead squat maybe you should be able to hip hinge and deadlift a kettlebell correctly first.  Or better yet hip hinge in a quadraped position.  Rushing to hurry up and play the instrument doesn’t usually make for good music.

And yes, sometimes the notes go out of tune.  In that case get the shoulder, knee or hip checked out if it doesn’t sound right.  It’s hard to play decent music on a broken instrument.  All instruments eventually require the time with the instrument tech or Luther.

You have fitness goals.  Take your time.  It’s worth the effort to own fundamental movement.  Learn to play the three-note song before the Beethoven’s 5th symphony. You want a long life of fitness.  Don’t just learn how to lift.   Don’t just learn how to run.  Learn how to move.  Make the music of movement.

David Edwards-Smith

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