A bit of history on the Alexander Technique

 
 

The Alexander Technique was first developed in the 1890s by an Australian named Frederick Matthias Alexander. As a young and promising actor, Alexander faced a problem which risked ending his career - his voice would become increasingly hoarse during performances, to the point that he could barely produce any sound at all. He consulted doctors, but they could not diagnose any specific disease or cause of the hoarseness. If there were no clear medical cause for his problem, Alexander reasoned that he might be doing something wrong when reciting, leading him to strain or "misuse" his own vocal organs. His only resort was self-help. He decided to observe his way of speaking and reciting to see whether he could spot anything unusual and find a solution.

    What emerged from this experiment of several years was more than just a vocal technique. Alexander gradually realized that the functioning of the voice depended on the correct balance of tension in his entire neuromuscular system, from head to toe. Alexander developed his technique to encourage and maintain this balance through conscious attention and control: a technique which has become applicable to a wide range of problems and aims. In short, this balance was extremely important for overall coordination and many other functions, such as breathing, posture, freedom of the joints in moving the whole body, using the arms and hands for skilled activities, staying calm under pressure, and maintaining good overall health.

    Excerpted with permission from the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, STAT, website.


How it all started

The Alexander Technique will ease the strain and muscle tension which has built up over time. It can help people in all walks of life, and is an especially useful tool for instrumentalists, singers, dancers and actors.