Alexander Technique for Musicians

Frederick Matthias Alexander

Have you ever heard of the Alexander Technique? Maybe a colleague took a class while studying music at a university, or perhaps someone you know took it to help ease some sort of chronic pain. Have you ever wondered what the Alexander Technique can specifically do to help you, a musician?

The Alexander Technique deals with how we use our bodies. We use the term Use to denote the overall level functioning of our body at any give moment. One’s Use is often determined by the habits that we utilize everyday. Some habits can cultivate good Use while others can hinder Use. Many of these habits are engaged without us ever thinking about them. The Alexander Technique helps us evaluate our habits to see how they affect our overall Use, and if necessary, cultivate new habits that allow us to use our bodies better. This is achieved through lessons with an Alexander Technique teacher who guides a pupil into new habits, which may seem strange at first, but will ultimately increase the pupil’s overall Use and functioning.

The Alexander Technique relates to playing music in a number of ways. It helps increase one’s body awareness. This can help one not only with improving posture and technique while playing but also help one understand their body’s limits to prevent overuse injuries. The Alexander Technique also helps one breathe efficiently. This is especially helpful for wind players, but open and free breathing also helps one stay free and open while playing any instrument.

This was just a brief introduction to the Alexander Technique and how it relates to musical performance. For more information you can visit the website for the American Society of Alexander Technique Teachers.

If you are interested in taking lessons with the New York Jazz Workshop you can find rates and register here.

Here is a video introducing the technique from the American Society of Alexander Technique Teachers:

Here is a more detailed video from Juilliard that is aimed specifically for musicians: