The Alexander Technique: Who is it named after?
The Alexander Technique is a popular method designed to improve posture and movement by emphasising minimum strain.
But who was it named after?
Frederick Matthias Alexander, who was born in 1869, was an Australian actor from Tasmania. From a young age, Alexander had an interest in acting and recitals. He moved to Melbourne in his teens, but he regularly suffered with periods of bad health. Alexander participated in a number of amateur theatre productions in Victoria, yet after dealing with hoarseness, he sometimes found it difficult to speak. As a result, he decided to study his speaking habits in the mirror to determine the cause of the pain. These vocal problems began to disappear when he learnt what movements he should inhibit and how to take “conscious control” of his actions.
Alexander later became a reciter and voice teacher. In 1896, he began teaching his new method by hiring out rooms on Elizabeth St. His main goals were to develop the voice and cure vocal problems occurring in the throat. From 1901 to 1903, Alexander was involved in a series of Shakespearean plays, so he had less time to pursue his method.
But in 1902, a surgeon by the name of W.J. Stewart McKay expressed interest in the method, which lead to further development. The technique became more medical-based, focusing on issues such as tuberculosis.
Alexander then moved to London. With a high profile from his work in Australia, F.M Alexander was able to gain support from Londoners too! Here, Alexander assisted with the vocal improvements of many actors and actresses. In 1914, he was destined for America, where his technique would gain even more popularity. Following the success of his book: Man’s Supreme Inheritance, Alexander received an influx of pupils, and he trained others to be teachers in the method.
He continued working until his death in 1955, but the legacy of Frederick Matthias Alexander lives on through the teachings of the Alexander Technique.
BodyMinded, Sydney Alexander Technique, based in St Leonards, continues this tradition of training Alexander Technique teachers and also working with the public in this natural self-awareness method.
Has this ignited your interest? Please get in touch, we’d be happy to introduce you to the benefits of Alexander Technique.