“My method is about inhibiting unwanted and undesirable responses to stimuli”.
So said FM Alexander when describing his way of living in this world. The Alexander Technique came into being when Fredrick Mathias Alexander lost his job and his career as a recitor and actor, the night he lost his voice. His doctors could offer nothing further than they had up to then, so he set about discovering what it was he did that caused his problem, or, as he put it, “(explore).. the way I use myself”.
He eventually noticed that every time he went to speak he pulled his head backwards. This, coupled with a long established habit of depressing his larynx to sound more commanding, and open mouthed breathing to allow himself keep speaking with minimum interruption, irritated his vocal cords to the point of failure.
Alexander then set about finding ways to change his habits and famously developed his Technique. When he set about teaching his contemporaries his technique, he quickly became known as The Breathing Man, because of the more impressive effect he had on their breathing. This soon lead him to the attentions of the medical profession.
As he developed his Technique, Alexander found that it had a profound effect on changing habits. helping release chronic muscle tension and bring about an improvement in well being that had been compromised by the excessive tension.
The Alexander Technique is now used in many setting involving voice, movement, breath and chronic muscle pain.
I teach students on the BA in Voice and Dance in the University of Limerick and graduates on the MA in Chant and Ritual Song as well as choirs, teachers and many individuals who are experiencing compromised performance from poor posture, excessive muscle tension and a general lack of awareness of the connection between performance and tension.