Making music in a healthy and sustainable way,

(again)

I'll show you how!

Sophie Stahl

Hey there!

My name is Sophie Stahl, nice to see you here!

You’ll usually hear me play as a freelance oboe player at orchestras mostly in Essen, NRW and around Berlin, see me as a physiotherapist in Essen-Werden, or watch me lead workshops and do coachings for musicians throughout Germany and online.

When I’m not working, you’ll either find me climbing on walls or rocks, being otherwise active outdoors, or in cosy atmosphere surrounded by my loved ones.

My Vision

is to help you as a musician – regardless of your age and your level of professionalism – to easily play your instrument in a physically healthy and sustainable way so that you can be free to concentrate on the music and completely be immersed in it whether you’re playing a concert or just practising for yourself.

My workshops and trainings aim at preventing strains and damages arising from your music making before they occur.

But I’m also here to support you during your rehabilitation process when it has been too much for your body to bear or when you’ve been suffering from injuries that are keeping you from playing freely.

Maybe you’re wondering what has lead to this unusual combination of my oboe playing and being a physiotherapist at the same time. The answer is my love for versatility paired with multiple events that have happened along the way.

Even before I started studying oboe, there was a time when I felt my body wasn’t able to keep up with the regular oboe practising anymore. So I saw different doctors, tried different treatments and  therapies – the usual procedure you might be familiar with… Until finally an ambitious physiotherapist took her time to evaluate my situation, recognised the problem and fixed it. This was when I decided “When I grow up, I want to become a physiotherapist for musicians.”
So here I am now, I have come a long, exciting yet beautiful way and have finally grown up.

 

Music school

required all of my attention and passion at first as I started quite early as a “Jungstudentin (junior student)” at the Academy of Music and Dance Cologne, Department Wuppertal with music lessons from Rodrigo Blumenstock and Prof. Marc Schaeferdiek. Following Prof. Marc Schaeferdiek, I then began my music studies at the Conservatorium Maastricht, Netherlands. I enjoyed living abroad and being able to dedicate all my time to music.
I graduated from Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) with a Bachelor’s (2012) and a Master’s Degree (2016) in Orchestral Musician with oboe as the main instrument (Master in Orchestermusik mit dem Hauptfach Oboe), taught by Prof. Washington Barella, Sabine Kaselow and Cristina Gomez-Godoy.

Throughout the entire time as a student, I participated in numerous orchestra projects and chamber music projects, played as an assistant oboe player and attended multiple master classes and festivals.

While I was studying, the plan to become a musician’s physiotherapist faded into the back of my mind. However, for the sake of my own interest and need, I kept looking further into the matter of musician’s health and took a number of courses at the Berlin Kurt-Singer-Institute.
These courses once again aroused my interest in this topic and eventually had me start a physiotherapist apprenticeship after completing my master degree at the UdK Berlin.

My physiotherapist apprenticeship

at the Neuruppin MBN was characterised by quite a few eureka moments, some of which I would have actually already liked to have had during music school.

For example, I had to admit that even though my studies involved extreme breathing day in and day out, I hadn’t really understood the principle of breathing.
It was during a gynaecology lesson when we were asked to breathe into the pelvic floor that I understood its role for breathing and its importance especially for us wind players.

Even though I didn’t get to practise oboe as often as I used to before, the mere understanding and the separate body training helped me to keep my oboe skill level and feel at ease while playing.

In the last few years, I have done quite a lot of research reading reference books and papers, attending advanced trainings and developing some ideas. During this research, it has become clear to me that I want to share this knowledge with you in a bundled version. That’s why I started my first workshops.

Understanding and experiencing your own body

is what I intend to teach you.  My goal is to prevent you from taking a detour compensating or at worst causing yourself any harm or pain in doing so.

With my workshops and coaching I want to provide you early on with the necessary information and relevant exercises regarding your BREATHING, PELVIC FLOOR, POSTURE, and EMBOUCHURE.

Obviously as human beings, we have limited absorption capacity and can only concentrate on a certain number of things – which in fact is a good thing.

When our mind is paying attention to our body, the rhythm, our fingers, phrasing, and so on, it will be near impossible for you to concentrate on the music.

However, there is a way how you can make room for the music (again). You’ll need the necessary knowledge, make an effort to understand your body, do specific exercises, train on a regular basis, and actively support your regeneration process.

Versatile support

is what I want to offer you with my workshops, lectures, speeches and individual coaching sessions.

They cover the most important basics regarding the role your body has when you play your instrument. With these basics you’ll be able to make music in a healthy and sustainable way for a long time to come.

When you’re already suffering from pain or facing challenges you can’t overcome on your own, I will treat you as a patient at the praxis (partially in cooperation with the Berlin Center for Musicians Medicine).

As a physiotherapist, I focus on orthopaedic, neurological and craniomandibular (head and jaw) symptoms typical for musicians.

Since it gives me a feeling of happiness and helps me to identify with other musicians and patients, I still have a deep passion for playing in ensembles and orchestras – whenever and wherever an oboe player is needed.

That has been my journey so far.

As of today, I’m a professional oboe player and a musician’s physiotherapist. Since 2020 I have been giving workshops and lectures on a regular basis for musicians at the Folkwang University of the Arts, for Blasmusik.digital, via DYMENT,  for the “Österreichischer Blasmusikverband“, the “Junges Ensemble Berlin” (JEB), among others.
In the March ’21 edition of its “blasmusik” magazine, the “Bund deutscher Blasmusikverbände” (BDB) wrote an article about my work, and stretta Music has published two articles of mine regarding the subject of “BREATHING”.
As a member of the DOV I am involved as a representive of freelance musicians and as a physiotherapist in the DOV AG Gesundheit.

Nevertheless, there is still much to explore, to learn, to practise, to play. The longer I have been around, the more interesting and exciting these two areas get. I am thrilled to see where this journey leads me, and how I can accompany you in yours.

Wherever it may be, in real life or online, I’m looking forward to meeting you.

Take care
Sophie

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