Alexander Technique for musicians

Do you play a musical instrument or sing?

Learning and using the Alexander Technique can help you to:

  • Hold your instrument or sing in a poised, balanced, easy, pain-free way
  • Be more open, direct and fluid in the way you make music and the way you perform
  • Find increased stamina
  • Be able to listen clearly to the music you are producing, so that you have a good ‘feedback loop’ to allow you more accurately to assess how to improve your sound
  • Say goodbye to stage-fright for performance and auditions
  • Be able to practise more effectively and to develop your skills
  • Get past musical blocks or plateaus and find fresh creativity

I have been playing music on various instruments for many years and for some years played the fiddle professionally. It was the music which brought me to the Alexander Technique in the first place, as I had developed some aches and pains associated with playing and felt trapped and unable to move forward to develop my skills and musicality. (Initially the Alexander Technique attracted me as I way of addressing these problems; soon I understood how it can be applied to a wide variety of musculoskeletal and mind-body issues.)

Once I had Alexander Technique lessons my aches and pains diminished markedly and the way in which I made music changed, allowing a more confident, flowing sound with more tone and more pulse. The technique also enabled me to take a leading role in a performance context, without suffering stage-fright.

The Alexander Technique works because it helps you with the mental and physical aspects together, in other words the ‘psychophysical’. As you work with your teacher to encourage ease and expansion in the body, so the mind also begins to be relaxed, alert and open; physical pain and fatigue diminish while confidence and stamina increase. These physical and mental shifts allow a different quality of musicality to come into being; clearer hearing, enhanced expression, tone, dynamics, intonation and rhythm. You will experience greater enjoyment of the music you are making, and this can encourage you to play and practise in different ways, experiment a bit more, become more playful! Musical blocks or plateaus become easier to move past, and technique develops accordingly.

These kind of changes are available for all instrumentalists and singers, whether you are a full-time professional musician or someone who likes to explore music in an amateur setting or at home.

Often a musician will come to the Alexander Technique with a specific kind of pain or condition – eg frozen shoulder – associated with playing their instrument (or using their voice, if they are a singer). These problems can be very detrimental to their experience and, if they are a professional musician, can threaten their career, so it is natural that getting rid of the pain or condition would be a priority. However, in an Alexander Technique lesson for a musician I always start with the same kind of ‘procedures’ as I would with anyone. We will work with standing, sitting and other movement, and complement this with ‘table work’. The specific issues are not addressed directly nor in isolation but always in the context of the whole body-mind ‘system’. That way the cure can also be the prevention of future problems. Also there can be a range of additional benefits as described above.

Does this sound good? If you would like to find out more or would like to book a lesson, please contact me.

Philippa Bull | Alexander Technique teacher in the Oban area, Argyll
© Philippa Bull 2020

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