Welcome back to Alexander Technique IN PERSON!

September 6, 2021 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

This morning I was listening to a podcast on BodyLearning Podcasts. It was recorded a little less than a year ago by my colleague Bob Lada.  Bob teaches the Alexander Technique (AT) at Berklee in his Awareness for Musiciansclasses. Bob also teaches on the Alexander Technique teacher- training course I direct here at Boston Conservatory.  Bob’s podcast is all about how AT can help musicians. One statement really stood out for me.  It’s something I have encountered before but have not thought about much lately.  It’s the use of that word technique. Unfortunately, Alexander teachers use this word in relation to Alexander’s discoveries. And it is the same word musicians use to describe the manner in which they play their instruments. For this reason, some musicians assume we will be challenging their instrumental technique by introducing a new technique. Ahh—let’s be honest here.  This is sometimes true but most often not true.

The technique we use in AT is a technique for how you use yourself. And how you use yourself has consequences that affect how you play your instrument.  Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are a string player and every time you reach a particular shift in a piece, your intonation is off, or your tone is not consistent. An AT teacher is going to look at how you are balanced in yourself and in gravity as you make the shift.  Because this spot has troubled you for a while, you are now more likely to have a reaction to its approach.  That reaction is probably causing the difficulty. You may not realize that you shift your weight to a particular leg each time or create unnecessary tension in your back and neck. Your fear of making the same mistake again causes you to tense in preparation for the passage. AT can teach you not to react with extra tension and to allow free movement to continue throughout the phrase.  Your AT teacher will help you notice your reaction and offer you tools that help you choose a different response. And if verbal instruction is not clear enough, the AT teacher is trained in using their hands in such a way as to facilitate a non-habitual response. It is a gentle guidance—not manipulative at all. This process will not interfere with whatever technique your instrumental teacher has offered you.  It will more likely allow you to carry out your instrumental teacher’s instruction more easily.

I did say I was going to be honest.  If your instrumental teacher has asked you to intentionally tense yourself to brace for that moment, then we will have a disagreement on our hands.  But it is rare for anything like that to happen. And since this work is about choice, you always have the choice to change instrumental teachers or discontinue your AT lessons!

Fear not the technique of Alexander Technique.  We are here to help you and work with you. Join our classes and discover for yourself what the possibilities are.

Welcome back, everyone!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Guest Blog from Eliza Mallouk

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eliza Mallouk  |  September 6, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    Excellent points Debi! Thanks for sharing.

    On Mon, Sep 6, 2021 at 12:11 PM Debi Adams, Alexander Technique wrote:

    > debiadamsat posted: ” Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash This morning I was > listening to a podcast on BodyLearning Podcasts. It was recorded a little > less than a year ago by my colleague Bob Lada. Bob teaches the Alexander > Technique (AT) at Berklee in his&n” >

    Reply
  • 2. Alison Barr  |  September 6, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    Very clear and beautifully written!

    Reply

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