Passing on my experience with the Alexander Technique in connection with my long term occupation as violinist and violin teacher is an important objective of mine.
The Alexander Technique also opened a fundamental perspective for me as a musician. I noticed that I habitually had many various body parts in use, for example when playing particularly accentuated notes or passages. Many movements were unnecessarily being made in parallel, and this often with exaggerated muscle tone.
Integration by separation
With the Alexander Technique we learn to give the individual parts of our movement apparatus their own room back, and whilst playing we can decide in which way we wish to bring them into connection. This could be called untying ourselves.
And we can leave out a lot of muscle work without becoming limp. Quite the opposite: As if through a hose we finally stepped off of, vitality flows in all directions.
We begin to discover the space between stimulus and reaction. Often something like an approaching difficult passage or even just beginning to play leads us to completely “collapse” into the instrument. With the Alexander Technique we learn to stop the impulse to immediately and automatically start playing, and begin to perceive that we can remain in contact with ourselves in every moment.
“The first time I was allowed to work with one of my fellow students, I experienced such a sense of inner peace. My patterns in everyday life and in my playing began to change by degrees and it became clear to me that this would be a life long process.”
Simon Fordham, leader of the second violins of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, about his Alexander Technique teacher training.