Alexandertechnique teaches how to act and live without unnecessary tension and strain. F.M.Alexander (1869-1955), the creator of this school of technique used the expression “use of self-awareness” meaning to use our body with consciousness and more efficiently. The key focus lies on the connection between head and spine which represents the most central and dynamic part of our bodies.
Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in 1869 in Tasmania, Australia and was a successful reciter. He suffered with issues which jeopardised his career. Since the therapeutic efforts and treatments of various doctors were without any success Alexander decided to try to investigate the course of his issues himself.
He discovered that by using his body during his recitals in a certain way he was causing the issues for his voice himself. Through this observation he concluded that a freer interaction of the individual parts of the organism would improve the quality of coordination and mobility immensely. After ten years Alexander published the first out of four textbooks and over the following decades the Alexander-technique was developed. He received great recognition amongst the medical and scientific circles and went to England and America to spread his discoveries and founded his first training centre for Alexander-technique teachers on 1930 in London. Alexander died in 1955 at the age of 86.
International enterprises such as Google, Siemens or Victorinox are using the Alexander-technique but also famous sports personalities, musicians and actors including Halle Berry, Leonardo di Caprio, Hugh Jackman, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Madonna, Sting, Mary Hanna (three times Olympic horse riding champion).
“The body is an instrument. It is the instrument through which we live” (M.Barlow)
When playing an instrument the free interaction of the individual parts of the instrument which is the body is the key ingredient. A conscious and good handling of your own body when singing or playing an instrument enables sustainable, more effortless and freer making of music.
When learning an instrument we train ourselves to practise in a certain way. Our playing contains habitual movement patterns which happen automatically and influence our sensory conception. We focus our attention more onto the musical outcome than the way how we can create our conception of it.
Through the methods of the Alexander-technique we can gain a better insight and understanding of the interaction between body and instrument, create an understanding of ourhabits and learn ways of changing these habits. Through improving our awareness and conception we achieve the option of not letting tension and strain creep in into our music making in the first place.