Alexander Technique


The Alexander Technique is a method for becoming more aware of how we move, and how we think about how we move. Unlearning habits of tension in the body, we are able to gain freedom while moving and allow the body to integrate and perform to its fullest potential.

Introduction

The Alexander Technique has a long history of helping instrumentalists and singers to perform with less stress and likelihood of injury. Musicians do some of the most complex and demanding physical movements of any profession. In recent years, the term Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) has come into popular use, but musicians have always had to face the challenge of performing the same complex muscular actions over and over again.

By helping musicians improve the quality of the physical movements involved in playing an instrument or singing, the Alexander Technique also helps improve the quality of the music itself. A violinist’s stiff shoulders and arms will get in the way of a pleasing sound; a singer’s tight neck or jaw will cause the voice to become less resonant. By helping musicians release undue tension in their bodies, the Alexander Technique makes possible a performance which is more fluid and lively, less tense and rigid.

Abigail Van Steenhuyse, originally from Annapolis, Maryland, received degrees in violin performance from East Carolina University and University of Michigan. She is the winner of the Mary Ruth Hardy Violin Scholarship and the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. Performing in various festivals and ensembles, Van Steenhuyse has toured England, Iceland, Scotland, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, and Canada. After completing a three-year training program in 2008, she became an AmSAT (American Society for the Alexander Technique) certified teacher of the Alexander Technique from Alexander Technique Ann Arbor (ATAA), directed by Jane Heirich.

In 1988, the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians surveyed orchestral musicians and found from the 2,212 respondents that 76 percent had a significant medical problem that affected their ability to play.

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Lessons

An Alexander Technique teacher uses hands-on and verbal guidance to explore how we move in our daily activities. The teacher helps the student increase self-awareness and become conscious of habits that are causing problems or pain.

The technique is not a treatment or a series of postures or exercises. It is an education of the mind-body relationship which can help release tension, prevent injury, and allow the body to move freely, poised and balanced.

Part of a lesson is spent working with basic everyday movements: standing, sitting, bending, walking, taking stairs, etc. Another portion of the lesson is spent on a bodywork table, as the teacher helps the student release excess tension to allow the body to work more freely, naturally and connected. Also during the lesson the teacher can work with applying the technique to various activities particular to that student, such as working at a computer, taking out the trash, gardening, putting on shoes, driving, exercising, playing an instrument, etc.

Contact

To learn more about the Alexander Technique, schedule a consultation or setup a lesson, please use the contact form below.

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