Kimberly Clark currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Flute Association and is the former flute professor at the University of Houston Moores School of Music.

Dr. Clark has spoken and performed at the National Flute Association Convention. Flute Society of Kentucky Flute Fair, Florida Flute Fair, Texas Flute Society Flute Fest, and Texas Music Educators Association. She has given workshops in movement education (Body Mapping) and flute pedagogy across the country.

An active recitalist, Dr. Clark has performed throughout the US and in Europe. She is a member of Scirocco Winds, a woodwind quintet dedicated to the promotion of modern American works. She is an Andover Educator trainee and the owner of MoveWell, teaching movement education through Body Mapping.

Dr. Clark is the director of Floot Fire-Houston, a summer music camp for young flutists and member of the core faculty for Floot Fire-Plano.

Dr. Clark’s Story

I began playing the flute at age 10. Like most musicians of my generation I was told to “sit up straight,” “keep my shoulders back,” and “don’t let your shoulders move when you breathe.” As a result I pulled my shoulders back and held them firmly in place, tightened my back muscles so I could be straight, and dared not move or I’d be WRONG. As you can imagine, I was in terrible pain most of the time. Flute is not the most user friendly instrument by design but I twisted and contorted my body in all kinds of ways to make it work. By the time I was a freshman in high school I had a break down. I absolutely couldn’t play in marching band anymore, and I remember coming off the field in tears one Saturday night because I was in so much pain. I eventually switched to color guard so I wouldn’t have to march flute anymore because it hurt too much. I managed to get through the rest of high school and my undergraduate degree with no serious problems but always had to take frequent breaks and Tylenol to ease the pain.

Then suddenly at 22 I had loss of movement in my ring and pinky fingers in both hands. It was my first serious misuse injury. I was diagnosed with anterior interossious syndrome. At a point when I was supposed to be preparing for graduate school auditions I couldn’t play anymore. With medical help and rest, I eventually recovered the use of my hands but then the back problems began. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t sit or stand for very long. Driving a car across town to teach lessons left me in tears because the physical pain was so intense. This was the point where I started looking outside traditional medicine and sought the help of chiropractors and massage therapists. I also began studying with a new teacher (Claire Johnson) who helped me understand that how I was standing and holding the flute was creating tension. With work and rest, I again recovered. I also started to understand how my body position not only affected my physical comfort/discomfort but it also affected the quality of my tone and my technique. This was a huge revelation!

Then at the beginning of my DMA studies, age 26, I lost the use of my pointer and middle fingers on both hands. Over the next 10 years I battled chronic neck pain, back pain, forearm pain, and you-name-it-it-hurt pain! I thought, “I’m doing everything right; why is this still happening to me?” Over the years I also watched countless numbers of my friends, colleagues, and students suffer with tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, TMJ problems, back pain, and even focal dystonia.

Then I met three masterful teachers who changed my life once again– Lea Pearson, Amy Likar, and Barbara Conable. Through them I learned about Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique.

I learned that there is no “right posture” for music making. There is only balanced and non-balanced and that it is a conscious choice we must make continually as we play. It is about understanding how the body is designed so I don’t try to fight against my natural movement. I also learned that it is the quality of my movement that dictates the quality of my playing both physically and musically. Another revelation!

Even after my new understanding of the body and the flute I continued to have pain, although my tone and technique had improved tremendously. I began to realize that my latest pain wasn’t flute related and so after seeking medical help, in 2008 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I bring this up to point out that not all musicians’ pain is “misuse” related. It is imperative that beginning any type of body work or movement education you must first seek medical help. I know that my Body Mapping education has helped me deal with a lot of my Fibromyalgia pain. I find that if I pay attention to my balance when I feel Fibro pain coming on it lessens the severity of the pain and keeps other parts of my body from contracting sympathetically. Another revelation!

I began MoveWell to spread the word that we don’t have to live in pain from playing our instruments. I offer educational services, books, and musical accessories to help create freedom and ease in playing. If you would like to enroll in one of my classes or schedule a lesson please visit the course offerings page. There are helpful books on the shopping page; many are instrument specific but others are more generalized. I also carry the full line of Kooiman Thumb Rests for woodwind instruments. If you know of some ergonomic instrument accessories that would benefit others please feel free to let me know. I would love to carry them on my shopping page.

I wish you the best in beginning this work of movement education I hope it is as much of a revelation to you as it was for me. Remember, Move well. Play well.

Enjoy the journey,
Kimberly Clark, DMA
Owner MoveWell