Mark Erickson, PT, DScPT, OSC, and Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, has been practicing physical therapy thirty years after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse in 1983. He has integrated the Feldenkrais Method into his practice since 1985 and completed the four year training process in 1994 to be certified by the Feldenkrais Guild as a Feldenkrais Practitioner. He has also earned a Doctor of Science degree in Physical Therapy and is a board certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. Dr. Erickson has a wide range of clinical experience practicing in environments specializing in body awareness training, pain, rehabilitation and injury prevention. He currently holds an Associate Clinical Professor Faculty position within the Physical Therapy Program at Carroll University where he serves as the program director, teaches, participates in research. Dr. Erickson held an Associate Faculty position in the Physical Therapy program at UW-Madison for 12 years where he developed and directed the UW Performing Arts Outreach Program. Mark also owns and operates a private practice, Insight Physical Therapy, LLC, and practices out of the Movement Center of Pewaukee. He has been an invited speaker for the National Summer Cello Institute at the University of Wisconsin – Madison 2011-2013, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and he served as Feldenkrais Practitioner for the Andover Educators 6th Biennial International Conference at Iowa State University, Ames, IA 2013.
Ask the Faculty: Mark Erickson
How do you think the Feldenkrais Method® helps musicians?
The Feldenkrais Method helps musicians develop a larger/broader and deeper repertoire of body posture/movement options. This facilitates more efficient breathing and moving which helps reduce excessive strain for better functioning, less pain, reduced risk of injury and better sound. As stated by Moshe Feldenkrais, the Feldenkrais Method makes the impossible possible, the possible easy and the easy elegant.
How did you start working with musicians?
I was introduced to Uri Vardi, Cello Professor UW-Madison, in 1994 and began attending Master Classes within the UW School of Music working with multiple faculty and students. This led to many referrals for 1:1 sessions as the approach I took resonated with the musicians. (no pun intended!). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed integrating my physical therapy and Feldenkrais backgrounds to collaboratively help musicians discover their bodies so they can feel better and better feel how to more efficiently express themselves through their instruments.
What do you like about teaching at Andover Educator events?
It’s humbling to work with so many incredibly talented musicians and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to collaborate with such skilled individuals. When I taught at the 2013 Andover Educator Conference, I found the Andover Educator conference participants to be better prepared than the general public to learn at a deeper level about their bodies and their body’s relationship with their instrument.
I enjoy sharing my structural knowledge and insight from my PT background as well as sharing knowledge and insight more functional in nature from my Feldenkrais background to provide “organic learning” to the participants so they can more easily and efficiently reach their potential.
I enjoy sharing information about injury and treatment, injury prevention, pain neuroscience, identifying good health care practitioners, etc. because I believe such knowledge will help musicians live better lives.