WORKING WITH MUSICIANS
My background as a musician
I originally came to the Alexander Technique through my own background as a professional musician (cellist and pianist). I found the lessons so helpful I decided to undertake the three-year full-time training course at the Constructive Teaching Centre. Many musicians have trained there and it was a fantastic environment in which to study the Alexander Technique. I have built up a lot of experience of the technique both from my own playing and working extensively with musicians, (both privately and at music colleges).
I am a member of the British Performing Arts Medicine Trust (BAPAM) which is a unique charity that helps performing artists stay healthy both physically and psychologically. Through BAPAM I regularly undertake professional development in the field of performing arts medicine.
Studying the Alexander Technique with your instrument
While it is essential to understand and apply the basic principles of the Technique to oneself before applying them to one's instrument, I believe it is important to integrate your playing and your Alexander Technique experience almost from day one. Initially it might be applying the technique as you hold your instrument (or sit at the piano) then playing a few notes or a scale. Gradually we add more and more actual playing as you become more able to apply the Alexander Technique as you play your instrument.
My aim is to help you improve your playing by using less tension and effort and employing better body-awareness rather than trying to make direct changes to your technique.
Musicians have found the technique helpful in dealing with performance anxiety, aches and pains, RSI, breathing issues or muscular tension habits. Releasing unnecessary tension habits, leaves space for your musical expression to come through more naturally and fluidly.
"I’m so grateful that my teacher Joan Dickson, encouraged me to take Alexander Technique lessons because I really believe that it’s because of that training that I’ve been playing professionally for 30 years without any physical problems whatsoever. The Alexander Technique slips into your subconscious and stays with you forever. It’s not something that is only relevant while having the lessons. People have often remarked on my good posture and I can honestly say that it’s the result of having had a wonderful teacher coupled with my Alexander training."
Mathew Lee: cellist with the BBC Concert Orchestra