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The body holds the memories: Pianists and trauma

  "In more than 40 years of teaching, the greatest problem I’ve encountered is a lack of body awareness. In their ungainly behavior at the keyboard, many pianists have forgotten the simplest, most natural and functional movements." Peter Feuchtwanger (1930-2016) First there were flashes of memories, almost like an old-fashioned flip-book of photos. They were followed a split second later by emotions: grief, helplessness, and failure. The pictures disappeared, but the emotions remained, making me emotional and unsteady on my feet for hours afterward.  The body holds the memories. Yoga teachers have been saying this for years, but because there are few studies to confirm this statement, I was skeptical until the day I got a massage and walked out with a whole new understanding of how I’d encoded part of my life in the muscles of my arms. I'd received excellent piano training in the Russian Method; I knew how to relax my arms and ground myself on the bench. It took this inci

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