Getting in on the Conversation

Well hello0o there!

It’s been a minute since I had a moment to sit down and put some words down (Coach Will here). But more on that in the next couple weeks...

These days I’m fully pickling myself in Functional Range Conditioning. Training it in myself and others every day for the last 18 months has led me to really consider it’s impact.

And then my dad asked me yesterday if learning about Functional Range Conditioning had affected my experience while playing the trumpet.

I paused, and realized that of course it had. But I had never thought about it before.

Trumpet has been a part of my life for 21 years. It has been the source of some of my proudest, most defining moments and some of my hardest defeats.

After conservatory in Boston, I looked at the financial prospect of playing trumpet full time, and it looked like a losing proposition for me. I loved the music, but couldn’t tame my bodies unconscious response to old, deep triggers that were brought on most when I was on stage.

But then FRC came along in my life. Within the first hour of my first seminar, I could see that what Dre had imagined was a system, loosely but clearly defined (and backed up with clinical study), that incorporated all the complexity that mattered to humans moving themselves.

It allowed clear structure for how to reshape tissue, how to mold it to function, to fit, for each person's individual needs. It described the slow-motion transformation of injured tissue into random tissue, into coherent, resilient, force-dissipating tissue.

And amazingly, it allowed a window into the stories--physical as much as psychological--that my body held as truth. The stiffness in my hips mirrored the stiffness in my thinking. I was blind and not welcome to the very outer reaches of my anatomy simply because they didn't matter to me. Instead, I was deeply invested in metrics that didn't actually matter to me. I was limited by an identity that was narrow by choice, one that allowed me distance from those triggers.

In my reading, I had understood that the process of integrating triggering experiences with your current reality in progressive and systematic ways is pretty much the definition of trauma rehab. And that's what the concepts of FRC let me do with my physical body, including my music making.

I hadn’t realized the direct and impact-ful impression, straight from FRC, of finally seeing the body as a system of interacting elements. An infinitely complex but elegantly simple organism.

The simple part is knowing the language with which this mass of cells speaks to itself (and to each other/cell(s): FORCE. Apply liberally where you need more information. Condition the weak ranges (HINT: every end position is weak!).

The complex part is how that force specifically has adapted your body to this exact moment on earth. Seen from the other way around, the complex part reflects, in tissue, the incredible, diverse, near superhuman ability of physical specialists (athletes, surgeons, musicians, etc).

Of  course, guiding that tissue is an astounding network of cells that we barely understand--our brain, spine and the rest of our nervous system. But again, that complexity is succinctly distilled by the physical shape and behavior of our living tissue. How you move your joints is how you feel the world.

Our physical lives are a beautiful struggle, unique to each of us. The only way we get to be in on the conversation is if we know, fluently, the literal way our bodies communicate and store information about the forces we experience.

Once you can speak, and understand, you can make any kind of magic music you like. I'll play trumpet ;).

Looking forward to writing a bit more regularly over the next few months.

Go find some gold,

Coach Will