To perform at the highest levels, most artists think that they must work hard to release excess tension. The determination to “untense” oneself rarely leads to what Yehudi Menuhin calls “the way of inner happiness and enhanced capacity,” or the effortless connection with one’s voice, body or instrument.
Alexander Technique is a method of learning self-awareness of the whole being, rather than a technique for teaching specific body parts to perform specific functions. Old habits of muscular overwork are replaced by new habits which promote “suppleness from head to toe” (Frederic Chopin).
Musicians who study the Alexander Technique report reduced pain and enhanced levels of playing as unconscious excess tension subsides. Deep structural support within the body, coupled with relearning a free, natural breath result in a greater sense of core power. Performers can reach new levels of creative subtety and joyful expression.
Several conservatories and many universities feature Alexander Technique as part of the curriculum:
- Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London)
- The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts
- The Royal College of Music (London)
- The Julliard School (New York)
- The New England Conservatory (Boston)
- The San Francisco Conservatory