Kelly Mollnow Wilson became a licensed Andover Educator in 2007 and has presented Body Mapping workshops for students and faculty at Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, Ashland University, the International Flute Symposium at West Virginia University, and members of the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra. Kelly works privately with professional musicians and teaches group and private Body Mapping classes. She has presented at Ohio Music Education Convention in 2004 and at the National Flute Association Conventions in 2006 and 2012. In 2013, Kelly was the guest clinician for the Greater Cleveland Flute Society Student Flute Festival. Her special interest is teaching Body Mapping to children and instrumental music educators. Kelly currently serves as on the Andover Educators Board of Directors and served as the Secretary/Treasurer for 4 years. Kelly performed as an alto flute soloist at the 2011 National Flute Association Convention in Charlotte and as part of an electronic music program at the 2012 National Flute Association Convention in Las Vegas. Kelly performs at various events with the Greater Cleveland Flute Society and currently serves as the GCFS Newsletter Editor. Kelly has nine years of teaching experience in the instrumental music department of the Wooster City Schools in Wooster, OH. While at Wooster her responsibilities included directing the Freshman Band, assisting with High School Marching Band, teaching fifth and sixth grade woodwinds, and coaching middle school girls basketball and volleyball. Kelly holds a Master of Music degree in Flute Performance from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Baldwin-Wallace College. Her flute teachers include Mary Kay Fink and Katherine Borst Jones. Kelly is a member of NAfME, OMEA, NFA, Akron Federation of Musicians Local 24, PAMA, and is active with the Greater Cleveland Flute Society. See www.wilsonflute.com for more information.
Ask the Faculty: Kelly Mollnow Wilson
How did you get into studying Body Mapping?
As an instrumental music teacher, I was experiencing some pain issues in my right hand and one day a postcard arrived from Lea Pearson, the author of Body Mapping for Flutists, with the question “Are you playing in pain?” displayed prominently on the front. Well, yes, I was. So I signed up for my first Body Mapping course. I was one of the fortunate people whose pain issue is resolved quickly once the new map is in place. I was completely hooked because I was actually expending less physical effort and I sounded so much better! As a basketball and volleyball coach for middle school girls, I had spent a lot of time studying the movement of my players, but was somewhat shocked and, to be honest, slightly embarrassed that I had not really studied the movement of my music students or myself, as a musician, in the same way. I took the WEM course from Barbara Conable and attended Summerflute for 4 summers while training to become a Licensed Andover Educator.
How has Body Mapping helped your playing and teaching?
Body Mapping has now become fully integrated into my both my playing and teaching. As a flutist, I focus less on what my fingers are doing and more on what my whole body is doing. When I encounter trouble spots, I am able to figure out what I’m doing with my body that is helping and what isn’t helping. In my teaching, I stress that the “how” of executing a movement is just as important as the “why”.
How has your work with the Alexander Technique helped your understanding of Body Mapping?
I was fortunate to be able to take AT lessons every two weeks through the duration of my first pregnancy. AT work helped me to be comfortable in my ever-changing body, both before and after childbirth. I have been fortunate to work with fantastic AT teachers, including Bob Britton and Amy Likar, who make the connections between Body Mapping and the releases that they help to guide with their hands.
How has your work in Alexander Technique helped your musicianship?
Now I am able to notice tension and eliminate it before it gets in the way of my musical performance. Thinking about the movements I need to make before I execute them makes all the difference in terms of ease and coordination of movement and also in the quality of the sound.
How has the Feldenkrias® Method helped your understanding of Body Mapping?
For me, the power of Feldenkrais is a result of the very slow, very small movements that one can perceive during an Awareness Through Movement® session. Admittedly, this is a challenging thing for me because I like to do things quickly… fast fast fast. I’ve made some of my best discoveries during ATM sessions at different Summerflute classes over the years. I’ve worked through a series of Feldenkrais exercises for TMJ mobility and freeing the tongue which has helped with the clarity of my articulation on the flute and the resonance of my speaking voice.
What is one of your favorite stories of performing integrating the concept of inclusive awareness?
My all time favorite inclusive awareness story happened when I was directing my Freshman Band at OMEA Adjudicated Event. Everything was going along great until there was a giant crash from my percussion section right in the middle of the march. It was the wind chime stand actually collapsing, all on its own. None of my percussionists were anywhere near it. I vividly remember encouraging myself to just let that episode be in my awareness. There was anger, frustration, a tendency to grip the baton and my toes as a response to my emotions. There continued to be a flurry of activity in the back of the band I wondered what would happen when we got to the wind chime part in the slow section of the next piece. I continued to allow all of this to be present in my awareness. I didn’t even cue the wind chimes when the time came, but miraculously, my head percussionist was sitting on the floor holding the broken piece with one hand and playing with the other. Right on time, with no cue and delivered with a fabulous smile.
My second favorite inclusive awareness story was when I played for the first time in a masterclass after my reconstructive hand surgery. In full disclosure, it was at an Andover Educators conference, not a public performance. Inclusive awareness was such a gift that day because if I had been focusing on myself and how scared I was, I would not have been able to play a note. I kept returning my awareness to my whole body (not just the recent surgically reconstructed part), the audience, the support of my colleagues, and presence of a trusted friend on stage as my pianist. For a seriously injured musician, the first time back on the concert stage, in any setting, can be more challenging than any previous performance ever. Inclusive awareness was an absolute necessity for me on that day.
Why should musicians attend this class?
If you’re looking for a friendly, compassionate, nurturing environment in which you can learn how your whole body works in music making, this class is for you. There is plenty of time to think about the wealth of information presented through Body Mapping, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, masterclasses and private lessons.