Feldenkrais specialist Uri Vardi about his passion and motivation to help musicians all over the world develop themselves holistic
The Feldenkrais method is a very efficient method for auto training, based on the awareness of our motor schemes and reorganizing of muscle reactions to achieve a full-range connection between mind and body.
Professor of cello at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Uri Vardi has specialized in the Feldenkrais Method, for which he received the UW-Madison Arts Institute Faculty Development Award in 1999. For iClassical Academy, he has recorded a couple of Masterclasses about this fascinating and very useful method.
“I believe that my principal role as a teacher is to help my students become aware of who they are and to help them grow. It is not to define their faults nor cure them. The driving force in this process is my curiosity in the unique makeup of each of my students. As a cello teacher, I not only challenge my students to understand the intentions of each composer, I also help them to explore their inner world, and to express their unique voice within the context of the composition.”
A musical goal in Feldenkrais Method
“Most of the learning occurs in the process of working towards a musical goal. When I teach a musical composition, I often guide my students to attend to their habitual ways of musical expression. Musical expression encompasses the whole range of human emotions. Although the exploration of expressive nuances does not necessarily lead directly to the ultimate mastery of a composition, it frequently results in the expansion of the student’s personality and music-making abilities. This way of learning is organic rather than linear. Instead of setting concrete, simple goals and learning the prescribed tools to attain them, in organic learning, the experimentation with different ideas provides the student with the freedom to choose among a whole array of options for expressing a musical intention.”
Feldenkrais method offers a variety of options
“The same principle of encouraging the search for a variety of options applies to the technical mastery of the musical instrument. In order for my students to gain the ability to meet any composition’s demands, they must have a vast repertoire of movements that will give them the freedom to use their bodies with maximum efficiency. Most of us accept the ways we move as if they are a part of our genetic makeup, whereas in reality, we learned to move by trial and error, and our nervous system is wired according to our experiences. Unless we are challenged to question this wiring and to explore new possibilities of movement, we limit our range of expression.”
Feldenkrais method helps understand new ways of moving
“I constantly challenge my students to explore new ways of moving while playing and to correlate them with minute differences in the quality of sound. Through my experience, I have found that when students discover the power of becoming aware of minute differences in their movement, it is not only their sound that changes, but also their coordination, and overall technical proficiency. The most fascinating aspect for me in approaching teaching in this manner is that my students come to not only discover their personal involvement in the communication of a musical composition, and their ability to efficiently express it on their instrument but they also very often gain self-confidence and imagination. The benefits of body awareness also help them in the prevention of injury, and in the healing after a disabling injury.”
Feldenkrais method lessons online available
Prof. Uri Vardi’s Feldenkrais Method Masterclasses are available online at iClassical Academy. Three instruments were approached in the Masterclasses: cello, piano and violin. With the creation of iClassical Academy, new generations of musicians, from any part of the world, have the possibility to improve their skills and to master their music.
Musical education is in great demand, particularly from advanced students who cannot always afford the cost of participating in Master Classes. In addition, many schools in emerging countries cannot afford the cost of top professors. iClassical Foundation wants to make a significant contribution to musical education by using digital solutions.