Last week, my teacher gave me a very generous test/review of the Alexander Technique main principles. This was pretty cool because when you are busy, it is easy to just go through a class without looking back and thinking, “Wait, did I get the main ideas I needed from the class?”
Well, the review session made me think of ten ways I should apply Alexander Technique more frequently.
At the piano…
1. If I have pain at the piano, I need to think more about the primary control by telling myself, “Let the neck be free to let the head go forward and up.” I tend to have a straight neck that is too forward, so actually, the more precise thing to tell myself is, “Let the neck go back and up for the head to go forward and up.
2. I need to think of my core as connected to my chest muscles and see the direction go up through both shoulder blades. This will also help make sure that I am not slouching too much at the piano. In fact, I am more likely to lean toward flexion.
3. I would like to actively work more toward connecting with my audience after a performance, particularly with body language. I should mirror the gratitude that they receive my performance.
4. I need to put myself more in stressful piano performance mindsets. I tend to be very relaxed when I practice, so it would be helpful to visualize more how I can adjust when placed in a more stressful situation. For more information about this, check out this “musician’s nightmare” article from Jennifer Roig-Francoli.
In daily movement…
5. When I pick up chairs, I should be aware of whether or not my head is moving back and down. While I try not to be tense in general, I have a tendency to not think about that or about the position of mechanical advantage, or monkey.
6. I should practice wall-slides more often after my teacher shows them to us in a future class hopefully. This could be a good break from practicing or studying. Here is an article about wall-work for Alexander Technique from London-based instructor Hilary King.
7. According to AT, inhibition involves stopping nerves from firing in habitual unhealthy patterns. I have a tendency to lean forward when I am about to do something very abruptly or to walk quickly into a corner. This gives the appearance that I am nervous even when I am not and just trying to be efficient. I am working on correcting this since it can be used against me in a professional setting, and my body language evidently in this situation does not really demonstrate who I really am.
8. Develop a higher eye sight level: This is something that my teacher taught last class. Often times, we set our line of sight a bit lower than we should. Thus, it is good to train yourself to have a higher line of vision.
9. Picture my ribs as moving like bucket handles. This will help me breathe lower when I sing.
10. Having free hips: I need to visualize my hips as moving freely away in front of me.
Getting the Most Out of the Class
There are definitely plenty of things I should do to get more out of the class. I always feel blessed when Jennifer encourages us to incorporate as much of Alexander Technique outside of class as possible, and she is willing to take the time, whether in-person, by phone, or by email, to coach us through those moments.
Here is my list of future things to think about over the summer with relationship to Alexander Technique.
1. Developing a list of audio lists to think about, particularly spiritual, when I do Constructive Rest.
2. Practice Alexander Technique principles when running. Maybe I could go on a run with my teacher.
3. Give some coachings to my piano students and their families. I think this would be a great outreach.
4. Attend Alexander Technique open practice sessions.
5. Read more from the online content group I am in for Alexander Technique.
As a Christian…..
It is also important to be able to worship wholeheartedly (physically and mentally), and Alexander Technique can help you do this.
My teacher mentioned this week that sometimes when you do not connect with yourself, it is hard to connect with other people. I think the same can be said with our relationship with the Creator. As a Christian, it’s easy to want to hide from the sins of our lives and not want to bring them in front of God, even when we know God accepts us completely, no matter our impurities. Being able to connect physically and mentally on a complete scale is thus fairly important.
Here is a church that held an Alexander Technique workshop for the choir named First Congregational Church of Glen Ellyn.
Please feel free to worship with us and share advice here at the Inbound Church <–Click!