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Breathing Lessons with Josh

by bwoodman ~ November 4th, 2008

The November 2 SRSNH Gala rehearsal featured a visit by Josh Schreiber Shalem, cellist, viola da gamba player, graduate student at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, faculty member of the World Fellowship Center’s Early Music Week, co-founder of the Renaissance band Seven Times Salt, and Feldenkrais practitioner. Feldenwhat? Feldenkrais is a method which improves bodily awareness through gentle exercises and is often used by musicians to learn to move efficiently and avoid injury.

Brian Mokler and Betsy Woodman had taken Josh’s workshop in “16th Century Dance Band” and felt his approach would help SRSNH members to “keep the beat.” Among the points he made at our Gala rehearsal: first, learn the music well, so you don’t have to struggle. Then-breathe, think of the phrases and the main beats, not all the little notes in between. Do the controlled breathing he taught us; practice pulsing in your chair; play the music “in your head” while concentrating on the beat; then try the tune live.


After the exercises, we went back to our reel-playing, and sure enough, there was an increased lilt and lift to the music!

Josh sends the following greetings and links to more resources:

“It was a pleasure to work with the band!

The movements we did came from the Feldenkrais Method(r) of Somatic Education. Lots of general information can be found at the Feldenkrais site. There are some interesting articles there about applying Feldenkrais to musicianship.


Anyone who wants to know more about my Feldenkrais teaching can visit my website:


And for my musical endeavors, the best place is at the Seven Times Salt website — early music with a folky sensibility! (Actually, we think we’re a rock band…)


If anyone wants to get occasional emails about either concerts, or Feldenkrais, or the World Fellowship Early Music Week, click here to join my mailing list.



Take good care, and a have a fabulous concert!




Josh Schreiber Shalem

Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner


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