Amy Likar, Flutist, Director of Training, Andover Educators, was one of the first people certified by Barbara Conable to teach Body Mapping. She served as the president of Andover Educators from 2006-2013. She is also an AmSAT certified Alexander Technique teacher having completed her training with Frank Ottiwell at the Alexander Training Institute of San Francisco. She has presented Body Mapping and Alexander Technique workshops at colleges and music schools throughout the United States and in Europe, including, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Juilliard School and the Army School of Music in addition to numerous conferences such as MTNA, Medical Problems of Performing Artists Symposium in Aspen, and the National Flute Association. As a professional flutist, Amy is a member of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and freelances with other groups in the Bay Area of California. She has toured the Southeast, the Northeast and the West as a soloist and chamber musician. She has performed at the Atlanta, Albuquerque, Anaheim and Las Vegas Conventions of the National Flute Association. She and Miles Graber released a solo CD in November of 2005 and released a live album with soprano Jenni Cook in October of 2006. She performs with Rena Urso-Trapani in the flute duo Alcyone Ensemble. Composers Anthony McDonald, Polly Moller, Daniel David Feinsmith and Steven Hofer have written compositions for her. Martin Rokeach is currently writing her a piccolo concerto. Amy holds M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in flute performance from The Ohio State University and a B.M. in Music Education and Performance from Kent State University. Her flute teachers include Martha Aarons and Katherine Borst Jones. Website: amylikar.com.
Ask the Faculty: Amy Likar
How did you get into studying Body Mapping?
Body Mapping was integrated into my study of the Alexander Technique when I worked with William Conable and Barbara Conable while I was a student at The Ohio State University. It made the Alexander Technique make immediate and practical sense to me.
How has Body Mapping helped your playing and teaching?
It has helped my playing by permitting me to help myself through what most would call limitations (breathing issues, articulation issues, tone issues, discomfort issues). I now call them mapping errors that keep me from using my body as well as possible to play the flute. The study is interesting and can be somewhat limitless since there is so much to know.
It has helped my teaching by permitting me to see how to help others get past what may be holding them back by the way they are using their bodies or getting in their own way mentally.
How has your work in Alexander Technique helped your understanding of Body Mapping?
The Alexander Technique has helped me continually integrate what I know about the power of the body map into how the whole body works as a whole.
How has your work in Alexander Technique helped your musicianship?
Using the power of inclusive awareness to stay in the moment and interact as a whole being in the moment has helped many a performance. It’s the skill that permits you to include all that you need to include in your attention while performing, watching a conductor, playing with various colleagues.
How do you think Alexander Technique helps musicians?
For me, the first time I ever sounded like I wanted to sound or achieved the concept of how I could potentially sounds was in my Alexander Technique class at Ohio State. I remember thinking, wow, I can sound like I want to and feel good at the same time. So I have just kept studying Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique. My first class was in 1992…22 years ago! I still take lessons and love getting the input.
I also know that when I was studying with Peter Lloyd he told me outright that I was playing with too much tension and needed to change how I was playing or my career wouldn’t have longevity. I took these words to heart and have integrated somatic work into my practice ever since. I perhaps could have figured how to do that on my own but the lessons in the Alexander Technique, Body Mapping and Feldenkrais have certainly facilitated it.
How has the Feldenkrias® Method helped you?
One of my first teachers of the Alexander Technique was Melinda Murphy and she is also a Feldenkrias Practitioner. So when studying with her, I think I got a combination of the methods. When I moved to the Bay Area, I met some practitioners and started doing some ATM’s and FI’s. I love how my body feels after doing an ATM. For me, ATM’s are a great way to combine my personal knowledge of my body map and the core concepts of the Alexander Technique (Primary Control, Awareness, Inhibition and Direction) to guided movements that don’t involve making music. That way I can really see how my whole body is integrating and where I may be getting in my own way.
How did you start working with musicians?
After I completed my DMA, I moved to California and entered an Alexander Training program at the Alexander Training Institute of San Francisco with Frank Ottiwell, and Bob Britton (who is also teaching on Summerflute). I had been studying with Barbara Conable for 7 years already and had trained to teach the Body Mapping class and I wanted to combine the hands on training of the Alexander Technique to deepen my knowledge of the body map. I finished my Body Mapping training in 1999, my Alexander Teacher training in 2002 and then won my orchestra job with the Oakland East Bay Symphony in 2004. I’ve just naturally combined performing and teaching ever since.
What do you like about teaching at Andover Educator events?
The camaraderie of the faculty and the students is beyond compare. We have had world class professionals with major careers playing along side amateurs playing for the love of it and treating each other with dignity and respect and the knowledge we are all in this musical journey together so that we can each be the best musician we can be.
What is one of your favorite stories of performing integrating the concept of inclusive awareness?
I have several I could tell but my favorites are when I’ve had to sight read something at the last minute. One instance was playing Beauty and the Beast on 2 hours notice. I basically had time to get to the theater and meet the other players and look through the part. Staying aware of the space I was in, the people around me, the conductor and using all of my senses got me through the show quite well. Another instance was playing the chamber version of Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland on short notice without rehearsal and without a conductor. I did a lot of score study and practiced the part to prepare but when I got in the moment I just stayed with myself and took in all that I could to play as well as I could in the moment. It wasn’t perfect – I recall that I missed an entrance but instead of freaking out, I used my senses and awareness and figured out where I was and came in like nothing had happened. It was quite good and quite thrilling for me to have done. Overall it went really well.
Why should musicians attend this class?
To learn how to integrate music making with how they use their bodies and minds.
What makes this class different from other classes in your experience?
The faculty gets along really well and really works to see that each and every student has a good experience. We have a combination of seasoned music educators along with experienced somatic educators who can cover a broad range of needs for the students. The class really is about an individuals self improvement throughout the week. The private lessons, the group classes, the group movement classes, the master classes, the beautiful venue of the Schwob School of Music all come together for a wonderful atmosphere of learning.