Aston Systems for Musicians

The Aston System for Musicians looks at all aspects of your musical performance and works to remove the barriers that are keeping you from performing to your full potential. The techniques employed are similar to that of a normal Aston session, but with your musical performance kept as the center of focus. Musician-specific applications vary widely based upon the person and their specific needs and goals. Examples include:

  • Analysis of your posture and movement patterns during musical performance
  • Exercises to increase your body-awareness during and apart from musical performance, which enable you to better understand the cause of your tension and/or pain issues (repetitive stress, etc.) and empower you to more accurately address tension and pain as they present themselves in your daily life
  • Movement lessons on neutralizing tension during and after performance
  • Ergonomic lessons on how to modify performance chairs and benches to lessen muscle tension and optimize body usage
  • Ergonomic lessons on problem-solving for the effects different footwear (specifically, heels) have on weight distribution through the body, torso placement, breathing, pedaling (for pianists), etc.

Possible Lesson Formats:

Private Sessions

Aston-Patterning® sessions for musicians follow the same general format as regular private sessions, incorporating activity pre-tests, bodywork and/or movement coaching, post-tests, and client-specific applications.

Musicians are encouraged to bring their instrument to each session, so that they can better experience changes in their body in relationship to their musical performance. Playing serves as a great biofeedback tool in the exploration of new movement and postural patterns; you can often hear an immediate improvement in your tone (this is true not only for wind and string players, but vocalists and pianists as well) and experience a greater range of motion through the shoulders (especially important for string players, pianists and percussionists), both of which serve as great impetuses to make lasting changes.

Sessions can focus on a particular interest, such as injury prevention or overuse concerns, or can just concentrate on neutralizing tension and optimizing body usage, with an emphasis on improving overall musical performance.

Master Classes

The Aston® System for Musicians easily translates to a master class setting. Possible contents include:How to find your optimal posture, in both standing and sitting positions

  • Discussions regarding a statically held posture versus a balanced, responsive sense of alignment, and their respective affects on musical performance
  • Analysis of the effects of different chairs on the body, and chair modifications for various alignment issues
  • Movement exercises to neutralize tension before and after playing

Classes can be held in a lecture format, as a traditional master class, or a combination of the two.

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Comments from Master Class Participants

More people should know about this. Keep up the good work! -GR, pianist

The ideas of “relaxing into Neutral” and coming into position from movement are really useful. I can really feel a difference- I’m more open inside. –SF, flute player

Good ideas on posture improvements for arm movements. –RD, conductor

Most useful is its direct relation to actual horn playing (in terms of tonguing, technical aspects/fingering, breathing, etc.). –LS, horn player

 

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Comments from Music Professors

The Aston-Patterning® approach proved to be an extremely insightful and exciting method for teaching posture, balance and relaxed motion. Mrs. Farasat’s teaching was direct and immediately applicable. She was able to focus the method toward young conducting students and performers. I highly recommend this approach for anyone facing physical challenges or interested in improving their physical technique in order to advance musicianship.

-Scott Teeple, Director of Wind Ensemble and Associate Professor of Music, University of Wisconsin

I found your clinic both relevant and informative as a pianist and teacher. The concepts of “finding your own neutral” and “GRF” (Ground Reaction Force) were particularly compelling as relates to piano playing. Your dynamic approach and expertise made the class incredibly thought-provoking and inspiring. I look forward to exploring the approach more fully in the future!

-Jessica Johnson, Assistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, University of Wisconsin-Madison