Practicing Dispokinesis

Dispokinesis offers different aspects which can be used simultaneously or consecutively:

  • The Original Shapes
  • Working with a specific instrument
  • Ergonomic Aids

The Original Shapes

The Original Shapes of Posture, Breathing and Movement (German: “Urgestalten”)

An Original Shape has the primal quality of posture and movement as it can be found in the “inner wisdom” of any new-born human being: Every healthy child develops its individual motor skills naturally: it begins by lying on its back, then moves on to crawling, sitting, standing up, and eventually standing freely and walking. The development of these primary motor patterns lays the foundation for a human being’s “original” experiences of movement and is a prerequisite for his cognitive development. Dispokinesis draws on these original experiences. With the upright stance, our arms are no longer needed for support and balance and our hands become free to grasp and act. With this decisive developmental step the child moves from grasping to grasping meaning (comprehending) and the ensuing development of fine motor skills enables target-oriented acting.

The attendant circumstances of the child’s developmental processes are crucial for the final result. Hindering or harmful influences leave deep traces in motor patterns and mental and psychological development. They hinder motor skill and psychological maturation.

The Original Shapes of Posture, Breathing and Movement / Additional Exercises

The Original Shapes and further exercises are the actual core of Dispokinesis. Their central theme is to coordinate and finetune the stabilising functions (body tone and floor contact) with differentiated forms of movement and breathing. Approximately 30 easy-to-learn basic exercises mirror the human being’s natural developmental steps from a lying down position to standing upright, all along preserving their expressive quality. The goal of these exercises is to make one aware of certain sensory- and psychomotor processes (what are my reflexes when I stand up, what do I feel with certain postures, movements, breathing?) and to change them if needed. They help us to recognize stereotypical behaviour and to find our way back to original movement patterns, both on the physical and the psychological level.

Working with a specific instrument or voice

With the help of the Original Shapes of Posture and Movement, the musician acquires the ability of defining / finding his/her adequate posture and playing position, allowing him to combine stability and flexibility and to achieve freedom of expression. With the aim of optimizing both instrumental as well as musical-artistic competencies, Dispokinesis offers specific exercises for each instrument, including visualisation and learning strategies
Some keywords:

  • Ability to dose body and muscle tone in regard to posture, breathing and movement
  • Ability to dose and differentiate one’s contact with the instrument, be it via strings, keys, mouthpieces, etc.
  • Independence of both hands or of individual fingers
  • Dealing with stage fright …

According to G.O. van de Klashorst “Musicians are artists of movement.” The musician has reached his goal when he is able to transform his musical imagination without any hindrance into sound and movement. Experiencing music then becomes satisfactory for both the artist and the audience. Understanding one’s mechanisms of self-perception is the key to competency as a musician.

By doing so Dispokinesis goes well beyond other movement therapies, self-awareness and relaxation approaches, and puts the main emphasis on music making and artistic expression.

Ergonomic Aids

A further aspect of Dispokinesis is the question of dealing with the ergonomics in relation to the instrument, i.e. of finding out what an individual needs in order to make free use of his/her disposition without having his/her motor skills impeded. Various ergonomic aids have been developed such as cushions, chin rests and shoulder pads for upper strings, or belts, thumb and knee rests for wind and plucked instruments. One basic rule in Dispokinesis is that the instrument needs to be adapted to the body and not the body to the instrument.


Thumb rest for clarinettists
from Musik Foag. Developed in collaboration with Herbert Bayer.

Shoulder brace for violin and viola.
Currently available is an individually customized shoulder brace for violin and viola, devoloped by Nora Niggeling-Neumann on the basis of Dispokenisis. Further details can be found at her homepage:

A further list of ergonomic aids can be found here.