Josh Schreiber Shalem

The Moving Musician

About Josh Schreiber Shalem

The Feldenkrais Method has been my path back to musicianship after injury, and has remained my path as an active musician.

In the mid-1990s, as I was finishing my undergraduate as a cellist at Bennington College, I began experiencing discomfort in my wrists and fore-arms as I played. Within a year or so, I couldn’t even hold a pen in my hand without pain, let alone play the cello. The following decade began with trips to various doctors from both Western and Eastern traditions, and progressed to studies in the Alexander Technique, Tai-Chi and Chi-Gung, and finally, the Feldenkrais Method, as I gradually found my way out of injury and towards mastery. I now hold a Masters in Early Music Performance from the Longy School of Music, and am active as a professional musician.

Along the way, I have found that this work is about more than being comfortable with your instrument, or avoiding / recovering from injury (though it is the best that you can do for either of those). Every single musician I have worked with, be they string players, wind players, keyboard players or singers, has discovered immediate improvements in the quality of sound, agility, and — perhaps most importantly — musical phrasing and expression. Check out this issue of SenseAbility for some articles about practice of the Feldenkrais Method for musicians.

The hands-on work can be on a table or at the instrument. I have taught musicians using the Feldenkrais Method at the New England Conservatory, the Longy School of Music, and the Berklee College of Music (where I currently coordinate the annual Richard Ehrman Memorial Feldenkrais series. I have also taught Feldenkrais at Amherst Early Music the Viola da Gamba Society summer Conclave, am on the faculty of the World Fellowship Early Music Week, as both Feldenkrais teacher and music coach.

I love working with musicians one-on-one or coaching ensembles, and every now and then I offer a series of Awareness Through Movement classes aimed at musicians. Contact me if you might be interested in any of those options!

Visit Josh’s Website at

Josh’s Blog Posts

The Road to Effortless Musical Mastery
  We musicians tend to think of making music as inherently strenuous. That the way to musical mastery is paved[...]

The Moving Musician Workshop

Would you like to become aware of the intimate relationship between the way that you use your body and the music that you create? You know those masters of their art who seem to make music effortlessly? What if that effortlessness is not so much the result of mastery as it is a path to mastery?

We will explore movement patterns relevant to musicians, such as dynamic sitting, freeing and supporting the breath, and effective use of the hands.

In this Feldenkrais for Musicians workshop you will experience how becoming aware of yourself and what you are doing can make a difficult task more achievable once you stop trying so hard. We will also explore how to apply this sort of awareness to the art of practicing and making music.

Experience The Benefits:

• Improve the quality and dynamic range of your sound
• Increase speed and agility without increasing tension
• Find freedom from right/wrong dichotomy that musicians often get stuck in
• Learn to practice more efficiently
• Discover a sense of flow & deep satisfaction

Optional: Bring your instrument of choice—string, wind, brass, keys, percussion or voice. Each Awareness Through Movement lesson will include an opportunity to explore how you play both before and after. However, playing is optional. No instrument. No problem.