I am thrilled to report that I am back on the bar!!!!! after a very long three weeks off due to an intercostal injury. [The intercostals are the muscles that lie between the ribs and are responsible for moving the ribs during breathing.] I will have an opportunity to make up the classes I missed, but I’ve still been concerned about falling behind. I’ve been trying to think of ways to practice away from the bar. When I need to practice away from my flute I study the score (not very applicable to flying trapeze), and I practice the music mentally. I find mental practice very difficult to do for trapeze because of my low level of experience with moving in the context of a “restoring force” (the force that is responsible for the oscillating action of the pendulum (i.e. the swing +me)).
I decided my best chance of practice away from the bar was to engage my mirror neurons by watching trapeze videos; including the videos that Vanessa has been sharing with me of her working on the Pullover Pump Shoot trick in class. A mirror neuron is a ‘brain cell’ that fires both during an action and while observing the same action performed by another. These neurons can “mirror” the behavior of another, as though the observer were itself acting. Many scientists think that mirror neurons may be important for understanding the actions of other people, and for learning new skills by imitation. This is something that musicians have understood for years–it’s why methods like Suzuki are so popular, and why music teachers sometimes require their students to attend concerts. Thank goodness for the mind-body connection! Even if our bodies are temporarily out of commission, there’s still so much we can do with our brains!