Musicians are often compared to athletes because, like athletes, we practice a lot, we use repetitive motions, and we’re often performing or playing under stress. Unfortunately, within the past few years, the comparison with athletes has led to referring to musicians as “the athletes of small muscles.” I don’t know where this phrase originated, but we need to stop using it. Not only is the phrase somewhat dismissive of musicians, it simply isn’t accurate.
It is true that musicians make smaller, often more subtle movements than most athletes, but just because the movements may be smaller doesn’t mean the muscles are smaller. Please read this excellent blog post, Small Muscles or All Muscles? by certified Alexander teacher and body mapper Kay Hooper to set us all straight about the muscles musicians use. Her post is a great reminder that we make music with our entire bodies.