Alexander Technique is not a thing in itself; it goes into all corners of our lives. It is not just for performers, but is a foundation for daily living with all its mundane moments.
Who seeks out Alexander Technique lessons?
Many different kinds of people study the Alexander Technique for many different reasons: a singer with vocal nodules, a dancer with a painful knee injury, an actor who wants to move better onstage, a dressage horsewoman who needs to sort out issues of excess tension and balance, a computer user suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, a chef with lower back pain, or a storyteller who periodically becomes hoarse. The skills learned through study of the Technique are relevant to all of us, whatever we do.
What is an Alexander lesson like?
The skills of the Alexander Technique are best learned in a series of private lessons with a fully qualified teacher. Your individual needs will be addressed through hands-on guidance and verbal explanations. The teacher will guide you through simple everyday movements, for example: standing up from a chair, sitting down, walking, climbing stairs, picking something up, etc.
Exploring everyday activities helps bring self-awareness of HOW you do these things. The skills learned can be applied to any area of one’s life. Alexander students who are studying or professionally practicing any of the performing arts are usually invited to bring their performance art into a lesson. As you learn you will become an ever more skillful observer of yourself, and you will see humans in motion and at rest in a new way.
What happens in a Voice (speaking and/or singing) lesson?
Learning to change vocal habits that interfere with comfort, range, quality of sound, or the breath is much more productive when we can build on Alexander skills. As with an Alexander lesson, the voice lesson is usually a private one; however I do occasionally work with performing partners or even occasional bands! Problem solving is unique to each student’s situation. Songs of any style, language, or century are appropriate. Speakers and singers come for many reasons: to find out if they can sing (e.g. to learn to match pitches); because they don’t like their own voice on recorded messages; because they are tired of people asking them to repeat what they said; because they keep losing their speaking or singing voice during a performance run; or just because they want to do what they do better, with more comfort and joy.
“I had been a vocal cripple for over 45 years. Year after year, I sought help from voice experts including ENTs, speech pathologists, psychologists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, and a well-known voice MD on the West Coast. Finally, at the age of 60, I discovered Jane Heirich through her book, “Voice and the Alexander Technique“. My voice and Alexander lessons with her literally changed my life! Jane was able to quickly identify the bad habits I had picked up (and unfortunately reinforced) over the years. We then worked on learning a process for ‘unlearning’ these habits. In just a week of lessons, I was well on my way to speaking without fear of losing my voice; and I could begin to let go of the emotional cloud that hangs over many of us because of this fear. Of course, as with any condition, you will have temporary setbacks, but Jane provided me with the tools I need to get back on track whenever old habits sneak their way back into my life. When that happens to me, I just go back to these tools she provided, and I’m back on my feet – or should I say ‘back on my voice’ – in no time! For those of you with voice problems, Jane should be the first on your list to seek out. The only regret I have is that I didn’t find her sooner in my life than I did. The good news is from this point forward, I have a new lease on life. Thank you again, Jane.”