Alexander Technique for Musicians

Everything about making music is done through our bodies.

Of course we all know this really, instruments don’t play themselves, but making this the starting point from which we consider how we play, practise and perform helps answer questions which are important for musicians of any level, such as:

“Why can’t I always make a good sound?  How do I play louder? “

“Why am I in such a lot of pain and how do I get rid of it?”

A very high level of skill and co-ordination is required to be a musician, the speed and accuracy with which we take in information from the music and translate it into physical movement of a complicated and often very subtle nature, is phenomenal. Any interruption in that flow, in terms of unnecessary muscular tension can have a considerable negative impact. This means that we may not reach our full potential no matter how long or how hard we practice. In fact for some of us the harder we practice, the more tension we create and the worse it gets.

I work with musicians whilst they play, helping them to become more aware of any unnecessary tension they might be creating and how this impacts:-

  1. their ability to stand or sit comfortably without pain.

  2. their range of movement.

  3. the quality and control of their sound.

  4. the intonation.

  5. the articulation.

  6. the dynamic range.

  7. their capacity to breathe and support their sound in the case of wind players and singers.

Being comfortable and pain free is obviously going to improve our performance and yet nearly all the musicians I know are not. In fact being in pain is usually considered inevitable. So, learning how to release this unwanted, and unhelpful, muscular tension frees our bodies so that we can be comfortable and  pain free, move with ease, accuracy and efficiency.

Often when this tension is released, improvements in many areas are immediate. The musician then has to get used to “feeling” different when they play or sing, and understanding that this new way of feeling represents a positive change.  We then see that the old way felt right only because it was familiar, not because it was right, and in fact it was actually the cause of our difficulties.

Having some understanding of the mechanics of how we play our instruments or sing is also extremely important. For wind players and singers the knowledge of how to breath and support the sound changes everything and for string players, pianists and percussionists knowing where the joints are and how they move makes a huge difference. This is because our understanding of how our bodies work influences how we instruct our bodies to respond. If our understanding is wrong our body movement will be wrong and all components of our technique will be affected.

Performance anxiety effects us all at some time to a greater or lesser extent. By acknowledging and accepting it we can and find ways of working with it. The Technique offers ways of dealing with the physical impact of nerves so that we gain control, confidence, freedom of expression and perform to our true potential.

Thought, Movement, Music

Click here to read some comments from Musicians I’ve worked with.

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