COMPANION

Arts

Despite Alexander’s acting and performing experience there is no discussion of acting in his books. See Stage Fright for brief references to stage fright in his writings and lectures. The Alexander Technique was taken up by acting colleges, first in London in the 1960s, and has since been taught, either individually or in groups, at many acting colleges, predominantly in the UK and the US. Many actors use or have used the Technique. The literature is extensive. Books The Alexander Technique For Actors by Kelly McEvenue contain warm-up exercises, drama exercises; it relates...
Articles ‘Brass tax’ by Patrick Gundry-White; some observations on brass playing, including on the diaphragm, the ‘jazz pelvis’, on playing while sitting or standing.[1] References [1] ‘Brass tax’ by Patrick Gundry-White in Papers from the 4th International Music Conference 2000 edited by Peter Buckoke (Peter Buckoke, 2000), pp. 41–49.
Books Just Play Naturally by Vivien Mackie and Joe Armstrong. An account of studying with Pablo Casals in the 1950s and the similarity with the principles of the Alexander Technique.[1] Cello, Bow and You by Evangeline Benedetti.[2] Articles ‘Applying chairwork to cello playing’ by Eckhart Richter lists nine typical misuses among cellists and suggestions for addressing these.[3] ‘Butterfly Soup’ by Vivien Mackie; on receptivity, to ‘surrender’ after all the rehearsal, in performance.[4] ‘The physicality of string playing’...
Articles ‘Of testing times and hoped-for miracles’ by Robert Schubert; on using the Technique to change performance anxiety (especially exams), focusing on the use of the self instead of being attached to the outcome.[1] References [1] ‘Of testing times and hoped-for miracles’ by Robert Schubert in Galvanizing Performance by Cathy Madden, Kathleen Juhl (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017), pp. 298–314.
Articles ‘Contact improvisation classes’ by Lucia Walker; on using the Technique to help contact improvisation and how contact improvisation can help one’s use.[1] ‘Contact improvisation/movement’ by Lucia Walker describes some of the issues she explores in workshops, e.g. contact, attention, support, presence, quality of touch, movement, improvisation.[2] ‘Contact improvisation and the Alexander Technique’ by Susan Lehotsky; on learning contact improvisation and the Technique at the same time and how they inform each other.[3] ‘...
Articles ‘Seeds of imagination: Developing creativity in teaching the Alexander Technique’ by Cathy Madden covers her four levels of AT-facilitated exercises for creativity; 1. retraining basic image-making skills; 2. responding to imagined stimuli; 3. linking images to each other; 4. communicating the imagined world. And on dimensional learning.[1] ‘Creativity in motion’ by Korina Biggs describes a workshop where people were first exploring fluidity in movement, and then either writing or drawing in order to allow non-habitual ways of expression to emerge from...
F. M. Alexander There is a short criticism of dance as a ‘free expression’ in MSI, where Alexander writes that ‘unrestrained, unguided efforts of the children to dance are likely to prove extremely harmful.’[1] He goes to relate the story of a six-year old girl, whose coordination was interfered with by this style of free expression dancing. First generation teachers Marjorie Barstow, who was on Alexander’s first teacher training course, was a dancer and taught dancing. A short interview covers her early dance history.[2] Writings – Book...
Articles ‘Grabbing the bird by the tale’ by Alex Murray contains observations on many years of applying the Technique to flute playing.[1] ‘Mi Soh Fa’ by Paul Chapman; on his experiences of learning the flute and teaching the flute at the Trinity College of Music.[2] ‘Finding my true voice’ by Heather Strizalkowski; an autobiographical case history on the application of the Technique to flute playing.[3] References [1] ‘Grabbing the bird by the tale’ by Alex Murray in Curiosity Recaptured edited by Jerry Sontag (Mornum...
Juggling balls and juggling scarves have been used as a teaching aid, both in training courses, workshops and lessons by some teachers, since the late 1970s. Not reacting to letting a ball drop is for example an exercise in the use of inhibition. Paying attention to the throwing, not the catching, is an example of paying attention to the means-whereby, not the end. Writings Michael Gelb relates how he used the Alexander Technique to learn to juggle in his Body Learning.[1] Gelb went on to writing about juggling, and using juggling as a practical skill, as self-development and as...
Books Indirect Procedures by Pedro de Alcantara.[1] What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body – The Practical Application of Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique to Making Music by Barbara Conable.[2] Mind, Muscle and Music by Elizabeth Langford.[3] Integrated Practice by Pedro de Alcantara.[4] The Alexander Technique for Musicians by Judith Kleinman and Peter Buckoke.[5] Articles ‘Posture, tension and technique’ by Niso Ticciati; an introductory to the Technique which was first published in 1953 by the Re-education Centre (Isobel Cripps...
Articles ‘Art and the fearless brain’ by Joseph Sanders proposes a seven-fold ‘performance-centred learning’ model in order to move away from fear-inducing concentrative models.[1] ‘The vitality and grace of the performing artist’ by Nadia Alexandra Kevan; observations on teaching freedom of movement for performers, with reference to the psycho-physical support system and the body awareness course she taught for 20 years at the Folkwang University of Arts, Essen.[2] ‘Reflective practice, the Alexander Technique and technology’ by...
Articles ‘A pianist’s thoughts on the Alexander Technique’ by Nelly Ben-Or; on the importance of the Technique for piano playing, of first absorbing all the details of the music and learning to see it in relation to its constantly flowing placement on the keyboard.[1] ‘The Alexander Technique in the preparation and performance of music’ by Nelly Ben-Or; on the need to continue inhibition and direction while learning a piece of music and to re-examine old learning and procedures so as to allow to gain a clearer and simpler way of absorbing and playing.[2...
Given Alexander’s background as a reciter, his emphasis in his writings is more on voice use in general, and he rarely mentions singing. However, the obvious application of the Alexander Technique to singing has been explored by many writers. F. M. Alexander Alexander’s 32-page pamphlet, The Human Voice Cultivated and Developed for Speaking and Singing by the New Methods! does not contain anything specific for singing, but is on voice use and breathing in general. In the 1904 article ‘The Lady of the Deep C’, Alexander is described as helping the singer Miss...
This entry also includes performance anxiety. F. M. Alexander There are two references to stage fright by Alexander, both referring to him putting on Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice in Sydney with pupils who had never performed before. In his 1925 lecture he related this story: On the opening night, a very eminent man was stage-managing for me. He rushed into my room five minutes before the curtain, and said, ‘Alexander, I hear these young people have never appeared in public before.’ I said, ‘That is true.’ He said, ‘You are mad.’ I...
Articles ‘“It’s too serious to be serious about”: Using stories to introduce the Alexander Technique’ by Sandra Niman and Dorothy Ormes; on using stories as an alternative way of introducing otherwise difficult principles of the Technique.[1] ‘Inhibition applied to storytelling’ by Glenn Swift describes the exercises used in preparation for storytelling at the author’s workshop.[2] ‘Embodied stage presence’ by Corinne Cassini; on using storytelling and ‘kinaesthetical listening’ to create a more spontaneous...
Articles ‘Body Mapping for string players’ by John Crawford contains examples of body mapping for violin/viola players.[1] ‘Looking at the double bass’ by Peter Buckoke; observations on playing the double bass, including bow grip, left arm, left hand fingers, bowing, playing near the bridge.[2] ‘String playing and the Technique’ by Elisabeth Waterhouse; reminiscences of learning the violin, and observations on various people during the workshop playing.[3] ‘String playing, pain and the Alexander Technique’ by Kathryn Zimmerman...
(The categories below are not exact as there frequently is an overlap between the teaching of children and teaching in music colleges.) General ‘The space between the notes’ by Ron Colyer reflects on the role of the Alexander Technique in music conservatories.[1] ‘The early days of Alexander Teaching in music’ by Elizabeth Langford are her memories of starting to teach the Technique at the Guildhall School of Music around 1970, and at the Dartington Summer School in the early 1970s.[2] ‘Means to means – The role of A. T. in musical training...
The effect of the Alexander Technique on both the creation, appreciation, and interpretation of the visual arts are scantily addressed in the Alexander Technique literature. Articles – General A short article by Dr Wilfred Barlow discusses how the Alexander Technique influences the artist in their view and portraiture of the body.[1] A short article, ‘A painter’s training’,[2] by George J. D. Bruce concludes: To summarise, an Alexander training will affect the artist’s work (i) from a point of view of intelligent selection of the material...
F. M. Alexander Many of Alexander’s early writings were on breathing and voice, specifically elocution.[1] Alexander’s 32-page pamphlet, The Human Voice Cultivated and Developed for Speaking and Singing by the New Methods! does not contain anything specific for singing, but is on voice use and breathing in general. In the article ‘The Lady of the Deep C’ (1904), Alexander is described as helping the singer Miss Violet Elliott, an Australian contralto.[2] Alexander uses the example of a stutterer to illustrate the application of his Technique in the chapter...