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Singing - Alexander Technique

26 Aug 03 - 06:15 PM (#1008595)
Subject: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: John Routledge

A couple of days ago McGrath of Harlow mentioned Tom McConville and The Alexander Technique.

At Whitby Festival Tom ran a workshop on The Alexander Technique in relation to singers - He is a fully qualified teacher of A.T.

After 45 minutes of a general nature he worked on three singers - a professional singer, her daughter and a volunteer from the audience.

The results were spectacular.

In each case amongst other things the singers tone became much purer and clearer.Work is however required to maintain this improvement which is where further tuition comes in.

Anyone interested in a sampler should keep a look out for such workshops. I hope that you too will find it beneficial.


26 Aug 03 - 09:12 PM (#1008665)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: GUEST,hayley

I have been interested in this for a long time.. but I live in a remote area and can't get to a AT teacher. Are there any good books ?

It would be good to hear if other people have used thsi technique.


26 Aug 03 - 09:16 PM (#1008667)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Ebbie

Very interesting. Can you describe the technique a bit?


26 Aug 03 - 10:06 PM (#1008691)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Mark Clark

A Google search for "alexander technique" will give you quite a lot of reading to do.

      - Mark


26 Aug 03 - 10:52 PM (#1008715)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

Here are a few of these web-sites

Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique
Musicians and the Alexander Technique
Alexander Technique Int'l
American Society For the Alexander Technique
Alexander Technique - Insider's Guide
Direction - a Journal on the Alexander Technique


27 Aug 03 - 09:51 AM (#1008910)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Peg

I did a workshop with someone in college; he came to an acting class and worked with all the students. Pretty amazing stuff. I would guess you can't actually learn it from books, but you   need "hands on" training. It is a method for improving posture and alignment which affects just about everything connected to   the   body's movement (walking, dancing, speech, spinal health, etc.). I   was told I looked "instantly more graceful" after the teacher worked with me.


27 Aug 03 - 02:00 PM (#1009103)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: John Routledge

Thanks for very useful and helpful postings.

Peg is right that it is almost impossible to learn properly from books alone but I do have one book which I can recommend strongly as an introduction to what it is all about.

It is called "The Complete Illustrated Guide To Alexander Technique"
by Glynn Macdonald - ISBN 1-86204-225-X. Published by Element Books Ltd in UK and USA in 1998.

A glossy book easily digested with masses of information. The case histories are particularly informative.

Happy reading.


27 Aug 03 - 02:43 PM (#1009134)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Mark Clark

A page at AlexanderTechnique.com says…
‘F. Matthias Alexander, the developer of the Alexander Technique was his own teacher and was fond of remarking, “Anyone can do what I did, IF they will do what I did.” ’
The page goes on to suggest specific chapters in books by Alexander along with a list of online material the site's authors deem most useful for learning on one's own.

      - Mark


27 Aug 03 - 02:50 PM (#1009137)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: John Routledge

Agreed Mark - But for most of us with only a fraction of the motivation .. :0)


27 Aug 03 - 03:57 PM (#1009176)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Mark Clark

Aye, there's the rub.

      - Mark


27 Aug 03 - 06:19 PM (#1009238)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: GUEST,Frankham

It works!

Frank Hamilton


27 Aug 03 - 09:50 PM (#1009337)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Margaret V

People wanting to explore a bit before finding a teacher might also like to check out www.alexandercenter.org and try the brief exercises described in "At Your Desk" and "Breathing," by the same Alexander teacher who wrote "Notes on a First Lesson" (referenced above in Mark Clark's link to Alexander Technique.com). The author, Leland Vall, is a friend of mine so I have a bias, but I find "At Your Desk" very useful and fun and have recommended it to other people who have also found it beneficial.
Margaret


28 Aug 03 - 07:15 AM (#1009496)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: GUEST,KB

What sort of price would one expect to pay for lessons? In UK?

Kris


28 Aug 03 - 08:27 AM (#1009514)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Margaret V

Kris, if you check out the www.alexandertechnique.com link above you can click on "where to find a teacher in the UK." A few of those folks' website list lesson fees at around 30 pounds. Once you tap into the list of teachers in your area, you might find out if they offer introductory workshops. Here in New York, many Alexander teachers offer intro. workshops free so that people can become familiar with AT. Also, group classes can be more economical than private, so you could find out if the teachers in your area run group classes as well. Again, my friend Leland runs group classes in addition to private lessons and his students really get a lot out of them, so a private lesson isn't necessarily the only way to go. (If any NY metropolitan area catters are interested, you should check out www.freeyourneck.com to find out more about his classes--he's a great teacher.)
Margaret


28 Aug 03 - 01:22 PM (#1009698)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: John Routledge

Thanks Margaret.

Having only private lessons runs quite expensive compared with group lessons.

I have had group lessons from two teachers over the years and all were excellent and a fraction of the cost of individual tuition.

For most people self-teaching together with a series of group lessons is probably the way to go. Will start again myself!!


29 Aug 03 - 08:33 AM (#1010157)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Margaret V

You're welcome, John, and good luck with the lessons if you do start again! It'd be great to hear about how they're going and how you think they're affecting your voice, if you get the chance to post about it. Margaret


29 Aug 03 - 05:15 PM (#1010437)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: McGrath of Harlow

My understanding is it's a mental attitude as much as anything.


29 Aug 03 - 11:20 PM (#1010589)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Ferrara

At Augusta Vocal Week (Elkins, WV) a couple weeks ago, I took "Care of the Voice," taught by Anne Louise White. ALW is a magnificent teacher. She spent a lot of time teaching us ideas and exercises based on Alexander Technique, although she also drew on Feldenkrais Technique and a lot of other sources as well as her own creative ideas.

It does work! Not only am I very happy with the changes in my voice (which I can't give this class all the credit for, there were other wonderful classes that made a difference), but I have a lot less back and neck pain since I took the "Care of Voice" class.

For example, I find I notice it more now, if I tense up and thrust my head forward. I can usually loosen up and "let my head float up there like a little ping pong ball," as ALW kept saying....

I suspect that any exploration of this technique would be valuable if you think you are tensing up when you sing. Even a little improvement can be very helpful.

Thanks for starting this thread, John, and thanks to the folks who have supplied all this information.

Rita Ferrara


02 Sep 03 - 07:59 PM (#1011666)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: John Routledge

Yes McG of H mental attitude is a very important element.

If you are not prepared to think about about how you do things and think of the consequences of these "habits" then progress will be very difficult.

There is no magic involved - just careful considered examination of how you physically and mentally do things. Although this thread relates to singing the priciples apply equally to all human activity.


30 Dec 05 - 08:52 PM (#1637819)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: Genie

Thanks for the info and insights, folks.

Now I'm off to find books and teachers online. :-D

Genie


30 Dec 05 - 09:02 PM (#1637825)
Subject: RE: Singing - Alexander Technique
From: shepherdlass

Go for teachers rather than books. The whole point of the Alexander Technique is to learn to feel instinctively when you're doing something right and this isn't aided by looking in a mirror. This thread has spurred me to find a teacher again. Did some lessons years ago and found I could hit notes with a power and range way beyond my previous abilities ... and then over the years the old bad habits have slipped back.

PS The only thing is, it takes over your life for a while. You catch yourself driving absent-mindedly while you concentrate on correct alignment while holding the steering wheel!