What is the Alexander Technique?
The Alexander Technique is a fundamental technique can be applied to any activity, such as playing an instrument or working at the computer, to maximize efficiency and coordination. Developed by F.M. Alexander in the late 1800’s, the Alexander Technique helps you rediscover your inherent physical coordination, increase your focus and productivity, and reduce physical pain. Alexander Technique is taught with hands-on guidance and verbal coaching.
My Experience with the Alexander Technique
I first encountered the Alexander Technique while living in Paris in 2007. At the time I was struggling with crippling stage fright and multiple technical issues with my playing. My cello teacher at the time, Tormod Dalen, took one look at me and was like, you need Alexander Technique. He gave me a copy of Pedro de Alcantara’s book Indirect Procedures. Although I thumbed through the book, I wasn’t particularly enthused or interested by its contents at the time. Then in 2009, while preparing for graduate school auditions, I took a few Alexander lessons in Northampton, MA, but once again didn’t really understand what this Alexander Technique thing was suppposed to be about, so I stopped lessons.
And then came the fall of 2012. I was on the cusp of finishing my Master’s degree in cello and feeling paralyzed by anxiety around my playing and dismayed by the lack of technical progress I had made in graduate school. I felt like something needed to change or I needed to find a new career path. Luckily, I began playing with Joseph Arnold, a wonderful violinist and an Alexander Technique teacher. I asked Joe for a lesson out of the blue one day. To be honest, I didn’t notice that much of a difference in that first lesson. But then the week after the lesson I noticed that every time I played my cello, I stiffened my legs. The next week after my Alexander lesson, I noticed how I stiffened my neck as I began a Bach Bourée. I began to wonder what other physical habits my body had around playing the cello that I wasn’t aware of. Within a month of regular lessons, I noticed an enormous change in my technical facility on the instrument. Within four months, my stage fright had greatly reduced.
That was five years ago. Back in 2012, I was ready to quit playing because I couldn’t seem to get it together— despite years of training and hard work, my playing was nowhere near I thought it should be, and I was crippled by fear and anxiety. I am a totally different player today than I was before the Alexander Technique. My performance anxiety is all but gone, I experience way less muscular soreness and tension, my playing is more musical, my practice sessions more efficient, and I have a greater sense of trust in myself as a musician. But perhaps best of all, I enjoy playing so much more, and, as a teacher myself, am able to help others.
Who I Work With
Musicians: I frequently work with musicians and actors to help alleviate stage fright and performance-related issues, playing- and performing-related injuries and chronic pain, and to improve overall coordination while engaging in their craft. Contact me to schedule a complimentary first lesson, or to set up a group workshop with your ensemble or organization.
High Heels: I lead a regular workshop, High Heels 101, to help people walk confidently and pain-free while wearing high heels. See the Upcoming Workshops page for dates, or contact me about a private session.
I also frequently see clients to address:
If you’re interested in a lesson or would like to set up a group workshop, please get in touch via the Contact page. Thanks!