All Workshop participants will have the opportunity to attend a presentation on Alexander Technique and Rolland Pedagogy, which is included with Workshop tuition. Any participant interested in adding on individual or group Alexander Technique sessions may do so for an additional fee. Space is limited — this offering is available only on a first come, first served basis. Contact us for more information.
What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is an educational method which has been used for over 100 years worldwide. It teaches us how to change faulty postural and movement habits in order to alleviate pain, stiffness, chronic stress, and excess tension. Another reason people learn the Alexander Technique is to enhance performance. Musicians, singers, dancers, actors and athletes benefit from improved breathing, vocal production, and speed and accuracy of movement. The technique also increases attention capacity, endurance, confidence, and awareness of surroundings, aiding in all aspects of playing a musical instrument. Anyone can learn the Alexander Technique and it is currently being taught at hundreds of institutions worldwide including The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, Aspen Music Festival, and the Royal College of Music in London.
People typically learn the Alexander Technique through individual private lessons. A teacher instructs you, using manual and verbal guidance, how to discover unproductive habit patterns and help you learn how to change them. Everyday movements are addressed as well as specialized activities, including playing a musical instrument.
There are commonly two parts to an Alexander Technique lesson: table work and guidance during activity. In table work, a student lays on a massage table (fully-clothed on their back with their knees bent), as a teacher helps the student discover and release areas of holding and excess tension. This quiets the nervous system, helps the body’s muscles return to a more neutral state, and increases sensory awareness. In table work, the student is also learning the basic self-help procedure of Constructive Rest, commonly called the “Lie-Down”, which they can continue to use in their daily lives. When receiving guidance during activity, the teacher addresses various everyday movements, increasing ease and proficiency and teaching the student how to maintain this improvement on their own. During this part of the lesson, students are also welcome to choose to work on a particular area of interest with their musical instrument, for example: a challenging passage, performance anxiety, discomfort when playing, or excessive tension and stiffness.
Another way Alexander Technique is taught is through group instruction. This is a fun, and often more cost-effective way to learn along with others who are experiencing similar challenges in their activities and daily lives. In a small group setting, questions are discussed and students gain valuable insights together in a non-judgmental and positive environment. The principles of the Alexander Technique are taught, as well as guidance in everyday movements and tools for self-care, including the “Lie-Down.” Students can attend single or multiple group classes. Since the Alexander Technique is similar to learning a musical instrument over time, it is recommended to attend each class to gain the greatest benefit.
For more information, please visit the American Society for the Alexander Technique at www.amsatonline.org.
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