“You can’t do something you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you do know.” – F.M. Alexander
Alexander Technique in a nuttshell
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.
Why Alexander Technique and voice?
F.M. Alexander (Australia 1869 – London 1955) was an actor who, while reciting on stage, was struggling with recurrent hoarseness and voice loss. There seemed to be nothing wrong with his vocal folds, and not only voice trainers, but also doctors couldn’t help him with his problem. He decided to help himself, since it seemed that it must have been something he was doing that caused the voice problems. While studying himself in the mirror he, for instance, discovered that he was pulling his head back and down, putting pressure on his throat, and creating unnecessary tension. He also was “sucking in” air; putting pressure on his respiratory system and throat.
During his many years of research and self-experiments, he discovered how to prevent himself from doing the unnecessary things he was doing by directing himself and inhibiting his immediate reaction to a certain stimulus.
Standing in your own way
I have been working with singers of all kinds of levels for many years now, and basically everybody is doing something (some more than others) which stands in the way of a free use of their voice: think about things like frowning, tensing, or closing your throat, or “lifting” your head. These habits have impact on your breathing and your voice.
With the Alexander Technique you learn how to become aware of these things, and how to stop doing the things that are standing in the way of what you want to achieve. However, this is easier said than done, since your habits are deeply embedded in your idea of vocalizing, and they mostly feel normal to you. It is definitely not a quick solution, but an investment in a complete new way of vocalizing which you will be able to enjoy for the rest of your life.
Is the Alexander Technique only for singers?
The Alexander Technique is not only helpful for singers, and can be applied to all kinds of situations in life and, in general, to life itself.
My specialty is to work with singers, since I am an AT teacher and vocal coach, but I also work with other people, such as actors, musicians, teachers, and engineers, to name a few.
Breaking your old habits gives you the possibility to make new decisions. It’s confronting and liberating at the same time, and it is a wonderful process of discovering ease, joy, and new perspectives.
Could the Alexander Technique be beneficial for me?
This is definitely a question to be answered during a first lesson. Of course, I will explain the proceedings of a lesson and tell you what it is all about, but the technique itself really is an experience. It’s like riding a bike: once you have done it, you really know what it’s like.
Secondly, every individual is different, so the lessons are always tailored to your personal needs, considering your own story.
Are you interested?
Feel free to make an appointment, or ask any question you might have in the contact form below.
“Since I’ve been taking Alexander Technique lessons with Annika I got rid of the arch supports in my shoes. I also didn’t suffer from back pain in a while now and therefore I don’t need to see my physiotherapist and manual therapist anymore. I also have much more energy than before I started taking lessons and in case I do feel a back ache coming up I now know how to lessen it with the help of the Alexander Technique. I can highly recommend the technique since it is an investment for life!”
“Annika, who graduated from our 3 year training course, is a joy to work with and we are always impressed by her steadiness in personal growth, her intelligence in understanding the AT work and especially her talent and presence in passing on the work to others with with humor and subtlety. Her social skills in communication with both students and colleagues is always positive, helpful and fun. Her continued teaching work on our training course this past year has been of high quality for so young a teacher and we, Paul & Tessa, are personally deeply grateful for her support on all levels.
We can highly recommend her to anyone wishing to learn the Alexander Technique and especially those who wish to apply it to their singing & performing.”