Alexander The Great: My Continuing Journey with the Alexander Technique

Alexander Technique
Alexander Technique (Photo credit: gordonplant)

So I have been continuing my sessions with the marvellous Kate Martin of AT Body Sense here in Melbourne and marvellous changes have been continuing to occur. It has been a few weeks since I last blogged about my journey with Alexander Technique, so I thought it was about time for an update.

Well, where shall I begin?

I have continued on with my daily semi-supine practice (as described in my initial posts), mostly doing this prior to and following my guitar practice and as a result I am becoming really aware of where I am now holding tension in my body due to well-formed, decades old habits. So not only jaw, neck, shoulders, but I’m also now well aware of right leg aductor, biceps femoris and right glute. Yep, for some reason I really like to hold on with my butt!

What does this have to do with my guitar playing?

Well, by me continuing my old habits of “holding on” and squeezing unnecessarily I’m using energy that I needn’t be using. So by relaxing those areas I’m making much more energy available to concentrate on the playing itself. I’m also taking pressure off of my body and my spine, which means I’m able to move so much freely and easily. More of the right muscles are now doing the right jobs.

I used to get massive tension headaches, sore and aches shoulder blades and so on – in fact I’ve reported on that experience in previously on this blog. Well, those days I’m very happy to say, are gone my friends! Seriously, this is the longest time I’ve gone being pain free and I really believe that the Alexander Technique practice has played a significant part in that.

I’m very conscious now of how I use my body when I’m playing – both in a practice sense and a performing sense. And it’s interesting to observe how the body reacts or acts in its habitual ways in the latter. I’ve used a couple of “safe” performance opportunities to really tune into what my body was doing whilst playing.

And I’m not saying everything is perfect yet – by no means. It’s reasonable to assume it will take a little while to change deeply ingrained and unconscious habits, but I’m seriously happy with my progress to date. For example, when I’m coming to “fast” or “tricky” elements in a performance situation I do notice an increase in tension in the right forearm, which then restricts movement a little of the right hand and does have an impact on tone quality (from my point of view anyway). But by the mere act of observing these things we begins to change them….. And so I continue.

PS – I have actually gotten around to recording and uploading the first podcast in a very long time! Yay! Head over HERE to check it out.

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