If you’re a music teacher, you probably know by now that you can make or break a student’s musical development. And in no area is that truer than in the teaching of posture. Whether hunching over a guitar or balancing a flute, a student who doesn’t know how to hold themselves runs the risk of chronic pain, which can lead to depression and damaged careers. In contrast, good posture can improve coordination, breathing, poise and performance. That’s why so many music teachers are incorporating Alexander Technique into their practice.
Is Alexander Technique safe for music teachers and students?
Alexander Technique is a gentle, slow-moving process, so music teachers can rest assured that it’s safe. That said, teachers should also check on a student’s medical history and seek professional advice in the case of severe back pain or injuries, such as herniated disks, fractures and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine).
What are the benefits of Alexander Technique?
First and foremost, Alexander Technique can help to ward off chronic pain and musicians’ injuries. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Holding an instrument is an unnatural action, which is why it often feels so uncomfortable at first. However, when a student understands the body better and knows how to release tension, they can prevent discomfort.
Most importantly, Alexander Technique teaches awareness of the links between the spine, neck and head.
Also, if a student is already suffering, Alexander Technique can help with relief from pain – in both the short and long term.
A 1995 study published in Psychology of Music, Vol. 23, No. 2, showed that Alexander Technique can also improve performance. A group of 25 students were randomly divided into two groups – one that received 15 lessons in Alexander Technique and a control. Afterwards, they all played in front of blind experts. Those in the former group demonstrated reduced anxiety, more positivity towards performance and higher musical and technical output. (http://alexandertechnique.co.uk/research/effect-lessons-alexander-technique-music-performance-high-and-low-stress-situations).
Are you a music teacher who’d like to find out more about Alexander Technique? We can help. Feel free to give us a buzz at a time that suits you.
About Kathy Driscoll
I want to share information, insights and a few stories about Alexander Technique with you. I’ve used Alexander Technique in some extreme circumstances including the birth of my twins and when I had appendicitis! I also use Alexander Technique for everyday activities as well.
I have been involved with Alexander Technique for more than 25 years. I meet Greg Holdaway (Director of Sydney Alexander Technique) just as he was transitioning from a professional career as a dancer into Bill Brenner’s Alexander Technique teacher training program in Sydney.
Greg now has been teaching for decades, he remains passionate and totally focused on positive results for those he works with, which now include his own teacher training program.
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