In the world of music, the way you move is as important as the notes you play or sing. Alexander Technique training provides musicians an opportunity to fine-tune their understanding of movement, enabling them to perform with newfound freedom and ease, without unnecessary tension.
Whether you're a seasoned virtuoso or just beginning your musical journey, Alexander's process of self-discovery can help musicians with a wide range of issues – whether you are injured or just want to explore what’s possible!
Let's explore four important ways Alexander Technique can benefit musicians:
1. Prevent and recover from repetitive strain injuries
Musicians are prone to over-use injuries such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, back injuries, vocal and embouchure strain, and focal dystonia. Alexander Technique helps musicians by devising healthy practice habits that allow for rest and recovery, which can help you heal faster and avoid injuries. Clarifying an accurate sense of your physical structure and how it moves (referred to as body mapping) helps you decrease strain and optimize efficient, pain-free playing. Guided movement sequences to use as warmups help stimulate neuromuscular repatterning to maximize healthy, expressive playing.
2. Break through technical plateaus
Feeling “stuck” is a natural stage in any learning process, yet what you do in response to feeling stuck or blocked can make a tremendous difference. "Working harder” often leads to added effort, strain and frustration and can even make things worse. Instead of pushing through and exacerbating strain, learn to achieve balance in response to technical challenges, mistakes and memory lapses.
The Alexander method can help with common issues in music technique including:
Open up vibrato
Increase speed and agility
Open up resonance
Fully support extended notes
3. Manage performance anxiety
The physical and emotional experience of performance anxiety can range from the mildly distracting to the terrifying, career-ending sort. Alexander Technique teaches us to acknowledge those symptoms instead of avoiding them and allows performers to redirect those symptoms into useful energy. Musicians learn to train for performance so that they are prepared not just musically, but for the strong stimulus of an audience, adjudication panel or recording booth. Converting fear to excitement allows you to bring your best performance more consistently when you need it, and allows you to more fully enjoy the music.
4. Unleash expressivity
Too often musicians train tirelessly on technique to the point of exhaustion and strain – which is what we hear in the music. When technique is no longer in service of musical expression, we have a system out of balance. Freeing muscular tension in the musician frees up resonance, tone and expressivity. Training musicians to integrate their own physical coordination in the context of musicality creates a vibrant balance that endlessly frees up musical possibility.
AT Phila Resources for Musicians
Ready to begin? Explore these resources and training opportunities to elevate your artistry and enrich your musical path
Move Free, Play Free Facebook group: Join this free FB group for tips and tricks for musicians. Share resources with other members and ask questions for personalized feedback.
Play Free Musicians’ Lab weekly online class: Join us online every Wednesday at 2p eastern to work directly with Ariel on the issues you care about. Bring your instrument, music and curiosity - let’s explore! First class is FREE.
Move Free, Play Free video course: Explore Alexander’s discoveries directly applied to making music with this series of 22 videos including helpful body-mapping corrections and Guided Movement Breaks to use as a warmup in your practice room.
Pedagogy Geeks podcast: Check out this podcast exploring embodied musicianship for musicians and music educators.
Alexander Technique for musicians offers essential benefits: injury prevention and recovery, overcoming technical challenges, managing performance anxiety, and enhancing expressiveness.
To delve deeper into these advantages visit the Alexander Technique for Musicians page for more insight and resources!