Versatile and energetic: that’s definitely one way to describe Annika Weissman: singer, voice coach, conductor and teacher of the Alexander Technique (AT).
From 2007 until 2013 Annika studied jazz vocals in Amsterdam, Graz and Philadelphia. In 2019 she graduated from the three-year teacher training at the Alexander Technique Center in Amsterdam (ATCA) and is since then also working as an Alexander Technique teacher in Amsterdam and Haarlem, often combining her two passions, singing and AT.
The Alexander Technique is a practical method that works towards changing movement habits in everyday activities in order to move more freely and live more balanced and at ease. All this new knowledge and the new way of learning also influences Annika’s own artistic development as well as her work with the different pop-choirs that she is conducting in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Hilversum.
The Alexander Technique is a practical method that works towards changing movement habits in everyday activities in order to move more freely and to engage our bodies more effectively and better coordinated. Through learning and applying the technique in daily life it is possible to improve your physical and mental health, and release (long held) tensions and stress in the body that may cause pain and lead to injuries. The AT is applicable to simple daily activities such as walking, sitting, and standing, but can also help to improve your coordination in very specific situations: for example when playing an instrument, or practicing yoga, or while playing golf.
During the lessons you will learn to recognize your habits which lead to an unfavorable employment of the body. The teacher will be supporting you with verbal instructions, and by the use of his/her hands, and will direct the students towards a new and better use of their whole system.
We call these sessions ‘lessons’ and not ‘treatments,’ because, in the end, the student will be able to apply the technique her/himself. You will learn to pause instead of reacting immediately, and by that you will create space for new decisions and for change.
By doing less, tensing less, and letting go -for instance of tensions in your jaw and/or neck – you can experience that singing will eventually become much easier and that it can be done with less effort. We often have some kind of preconceived idea of what we have to do in order to achieve something: let’s say that high note. But have you actually tried to do it in a different way? Mostly, I hear students arguing that they need more breath support or more effort, but in most cases it’s the other way around. Thinking of support and “doing your best” often results in a tight throat, and consequently little space for a free, resonating sound. Based on the principles of the Alexander Technique you can learn to leave yourself alone, do less and let go of old unnecessary habits and tension which interfere with a free use of your voice.
At the moment, I work with three groups in Amsterdam, Haarlem and Hilversum. These groups differ in size, repertoire and level. I write customized arrangements for all three groups, and although they are very different from each other, they all share the same goal: getting better together and having a really good time doing so.