The Alexander Technique is a subtle and learnable set of skills, a process that can change habits of thinking and movement that sometimes interfere with the whole system. What has become known as the FM Alexander Technique:
The Alexander Technique is a unique and sophisticated form of kinesthetic and neuromuscular education, a practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, flexibility, support, and coordination. It can enhance performance and is therefore a valued tool for musicians and other performers.
We are teachers and students learning together; our sessions are lessons rather than treatments or therapy. The lessons often have therapeutic effect as we learn more efficient use of ourselves for daily tasks.
Excessive habitual tension deadens our sensory perception. What does this mean? If the “too much tension” messages are not received and honored by the brain, excess tension becomes habitual and painful. We literally cannot tell if we are using more muscle tension than needed for a task. We can learn to act, however, with an appropriate amount of muscle tension for the moment–neither too much nor too little. Many writers describe Alexander work as a technique for life because the skills can go into all areas of our daily existence, if we choose.
FM Alexander was a successful actor in the 1880s and 1890s in Australia and New Zealand. Eventually he began losing his voice during performances. After finding little help from the available medical resources, he set about figuring out for himself what was causing the problem. He became fascinated with the process he had to develop in order to undo his counter-productive habits. Other actors observed his return to vocal and respiratory health and came to him for help. He spent the rest of his life teaching in the UK and US until his death in 1955.
More information about FM Alexander and the technique that bears his name:
We gain better awareness of ourselves by observing our current habits of thought and movement, and by observing our habitual responses to varied stimuli.
We learn to stop habits that can interfere with our comfort, our healthy functioning, and our performance of daily activities. This is the most difficult part of the Alexander Technique learning process.
We become aware of the organization found in all living creatures, including us: the head leading the rest of the system. This helps us move through space, assisted by gravity.
The mind/body system is a working unity and must be treated as a whole.
How we think determines our response to any stimulus.
How we think about movement determines how we organize ourselves to carry out any activity.
Freeing up the entire respiratory system is the foundation of healthy vocal function.