The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor born in 1869. He was plagued with voice and throat problems which were threatening his vocation. He tried without success all of his doctors recommendations to no avail.
However, after a particularly important engagement when he almost lost his voice, he knew if he wanted to continue to recite, that something would have to be done, and that if the medical profession could not help he would try himself. After hours of watching himself in a mirror he discovered that the hoarseness and loss of voice only occurred when he was reciting, therefore it must be something he was doing when he recited that was causing the problem. He continued to observe himself in a mirror speaking normally and then when reciting, and noticed that when he started to recite he pulled his head back, depressed his larynx and gasped in air. He spent many years working out how to prevent this misuse and realized it is the relationship of the head, neck and back that is of most importance and that it is not what you do but how you do it that matters, and if he was to cure his problem, this would have to be overcome. he developed the technique as a holistic re-education of his thinking and body use, involving his mind as well as his body. This change in enabled him to return to the stage. Here, he met other actors with similar problems, who turned to him for help and advice and he shared his discovery. In 1904 he moved to London and continued to develop his technique, since the 1930’s he trained over 80 teachers, and continued to teach until his death in London in 1955. His legacy continues with the many people who have been helped with his technique.
The Technique not only offers relief from pain but musicians can enhance their performance, with freedom of movement in the ribcage the breath is easier and the resonance of sound is improved. With Athletes The Technique can help prevent injuries and improve performance. Some pupils just enjoy improved mobility and co-ordination, better balance and a wonderful sense of wellbeing and freedom.