Dave Carr – Alexander and Music Teacher
I learned violin and cello at a young age and when I heard bands like Nirvana and Metallica in high school I knew that guitar was the instrument for me! I’ve always been interested in a wide range of styles and have performed with groups playing material drawn from sources such as rock, jazz, metal, Indian, Celtic, bluegrass, classical, Balkan, and the list goes on… Breaking stylistic boundaries has always been a lot of fun for me.
I’m probably best known for my work playing guitar and banjo with gypsy band Lolo Lovina, progressive folk/metal band Dave Carr’s Fabulous Contraption and Celtic/Indian fusion band Tapestries of Sound.
Having taught since 1997, it’s always been important to me to keep the student’s dreams and desires at the center of my teaching approach.
Around the age of 16 I started to develop discomfort in my arms that was apparently caused by my guitar playing, which was a big concern because music was my passion. Over the years I explored many approaches to treating this, and consulted with many professionals about it – physiotherapists, a surgeon, a muscular-skeletal specialist, chiropractors, osteopaths, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, amongst others. Each person had their advice to offer – advice that was helpful, but I was still having to keep taking breaks from playing because I was injuring myself periodically.
Then I came across the Alexander Technique. This was different because rather than being a treatment, it was an educational system. It was about me learning what it was I was doing to cause the problem, and how I could stop doing these things. It was quite shocking to realise what I had been doing without recognising it!
I studied for 4.5 years with Sue Whittingham, and because Alexander Technique was the modality that really made a difference for me, I decided to train as an Alexander teacher. I had just injured myself again (I had neglected to apply the ideas I’d been learning during a long practice session), and was keen to really get on top of the problem through an intensive experience of the Technique. This turned out to be one of the most inspiring experiences of my life. I was amazed by the skill and dedication of the teachers, and the depth of the Technique.
The idea of teaching this to others became increasingly compelling. I learned a new way of thinking about myself and the way I move, and was seeing its effect throughout all areas of my life.
In 2014 I began classical guitar lessons with Phillip Houghton, who has proven to be another inspiring mentor, with very deeply thought-through concepts of technique and phrasing. Combining his specific action ideas for guitar with the general coordinating effects of the Alexander Technique has brought me back to playing again, and I’m really excited by the results.
• Alexander, Banjo and guitar teacher at Sydney Alexander Technique and my private practice in Kellyville
• Guitar teacher at Emanuel School, St Leos Catholic College, and Glenaeon Rudolf Steiner School.
· BMus.Studies(musicology) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
· Certified as an Alexander Technique teacher through the Australian Society for Teachers of the Alexander Technique
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