What is the Alexander Technique?
We all have our own pattern of movement which is a reflection of our thoughts, experience and conception of self. Our movement coordination is generally excellent as a birthright. However, activities that were once easy and taken for granted can often unwittingly become laden with fatigue, tension and unwarranted effort. The ease and freedom we once had is what we seek to restore. The Alexander Technique is an educational process where the student learns about his or her own movement patterns and how thinking directs movement coordination.
The Alexander Technique has been used by actors and singers for voice production and performance enhancement for over a century; and for musicians utilizing the technique, the improvement of the whole body coordination facilitates the use of whatever parts may be involved; such as embouchure, keyboard technique or bow arm. While Alexander Technique has been used by artists and performance professionals for well over a century, the Alexander Technique has direct relevance to the general population and can be applied to any daily activity. Even simple and routine physical challenges such as sitting, standing and walking can be made tremendously more efficient, effective and pleasurable through the application of the fundamental principles of the Alexander Technique . The student’s needs and interests are addressed in each lesson with the assistance of a qualified teacher; through dialogue, direction of awareness and hands-on work. Looking at a specific activity, such as working at the computer, can help us transform an onerous and tiresome task into an activity which is pain-free and even invigorating.
F. M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor and reciter who developed his technique in response to the repeated and seemingly unexplainable loss of his voice. Upon developing his technique, Alexander regained his voice, worked with many actors and theatre professionals and went on to establish a vibrant teaching practice in London, England and later New York City.
Experience of the Alexander Technique has led to praise from George Bernard Shaw, Aldous Huxley, Prof. John Dewey, Sir Charles Sherrington, Julian Bream, John Cleese, Kevin Klein, Roald Dahl, Robertson Davies and many others. It is taught at the Julliard School of the Performing Arts in New York, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, the Stratford Shakespeare and Shaw Festivals in Canada, Boston University, Brandeis University and many other centres.