September 2017 – Alexander Technique and Psychophysiology of Music Performance

The Alexander Technique is a definitive tool for encouraging ease, efficiency, and awareness in our whole selves: mental, physical, emotional.  This can be especially important in complex and demanding activities, such as music performance.  I am always happy to introduce the technique to music groups around the province.  On September 29th, 2017, I have the pleasure of teaching a 3 hour Alexander Technique class for Music Performance majors at Kwantlen University.  This is a part of the following course:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Langley:

Psychophysiology of Music Performance

Students will explore the psychological/physical relationship in music performance as well as the mental and emotional factors that affect learning and teaching. They will develop body awareness (posture, movement, and breathing) and its relationship to musical performance, as well as learn how to amend their physical movements to play more efficiently with less effort. Students will also investigate different approaches in developing musical skill, expressivity, interpretation, musical memory, and motivation, as well as survey different techniques for managing-and utilizing-performance anxiety.

For more information on Alexander Technique workshops or lessons: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, or 250-716-3464

music-25th-anni

September 2017 – Alexander Technique for Horn students, Victoria

The Alexander Technique has a long history of helping instrumentalists and singers to perform with less stress and likelihood of injury. Musicians do some of the most complex and demanding physical movements of any profession.  By helping musicians release undue tension in their bodies, the Alexander Technique improves the quality of movement and therefore the quality of the music itself.  It makes possible a performance which is more fluid and lively, and less tense and rigid.  I am always happy to introduce the technique to music groups around the province.

indexOn September 22nd, 2017, I have the pleasure of teaching a 2 hour introductory Alexander Technique class for the French horn students at the University of Victoria. As a professional horn player myself, I am extremely conscious of the demands of playing horn, and the possibilities of injury.  It is of utmost importance to introduce this tool to serious music students, so they can refer to it and study more of the Alexander Technique as they discover the need for more ease and efficiency in all they do.  I certainly could not have had the professional career I do, without this technique!

For more information about introductory workshops or lessons in the Alexander Technique, please contact: heather@soundbeingstudio.com, or phone 250-716-3464

July 2017 – New website: Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique

July 2017 – We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique has just launched a new website.

Please visit our new site: www.canstat.ca

The Alexander Technique helps people learn to move, feel, and perform better in everything they do.

It’s an educational approach used by people of all ages and abilities to increase mental and physical well-being and decrease strain in daily life.

Learn from a CANSTAT certified teacher and enhance your own health and performance today!

CanSTATweb

April 2017 – High Jump techniques – Article on Balanced Approach to Athletics

athleticsweekly.com

17 August 2016
High jump technique: Balanced approach

By Sean Carey
Sean looks at different high-jump athletes and their method of preparation and run-up. To read the article in full, click here.

Here are some excerpts from the article by Sean Carey:

“As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a psycho-physical method for restoring or improving coordination, and with a long-standing interest in athletics, I’m always looking at how an athlete’s body works as a whole.

I pay particular attention to the balance of an athlete’s head on their neck because this relationship acts as a master reflex in the body.

How? Well, because any tightening of the large neck muscles, such as the trapezius or sternocleidomastoids, that attach to the base of the skull, necessarily exaggerates the forward curvature of the neck (cervical) and lumbar parts of the spine, and diminishes one’s internal length (the distance between the crown of the head and soles of the feet).

In turn, this imbalance will transfer the basic work of supporting an athlete’s body weight against gravity from the non-fatigable, slow-twitch muscle fibres of the back musculature to the very fatigable, fast-twitch fibres of the leg muscles. If this happens, a kinaesthetically-attuned athlete will register that they are no longer experiencing ‘springiness’ or buoyancy but instead feel heavy or tired.

This deterioration can obviously have an impact on mood and confidence. But if the athlete can improve the relationship between their neck, head and torso, they will come out of that physical and psychological slump and feel more alive, more comfortable in their skin, muscles and joints, and go on to improve their performance.”

Heather Walker is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, based in Nanaimo, B.C.  For more information about lessons and workshops, please phone 250-716-3464 or email info@soundbeingstudio.com.

 

March 2017 – Be upstanding in public presentations with the Alexander Technique

Be upstanding in court!

Optimise performance and manage stress – John Hunter outlines the benefits of the Alexander Technique to the Bar

CounselMagazine.co.uk

August 2016

Be upstanding in court!

By John Hunter (MSTAT)
An article outlining the benefits of the AT to the bar. You can read the full article here. STAT website mentioned.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The long association between F M Alexander (1869-1955) and the theatre dates back to the very origins of the Alexander Technique (AT). He was an actor who loved Shakespeare, loved to recite and, having lost his voice, succeeded not only in curing himself of his problem but also in discovering certain fundamental principles of human functioning. Once established as an expert in breathing and voice in his native Australia, Alexander came to London in 1904 where he developed and taught his method for more than 50 years.”

“Many turn to Alexander lessons to deal with a specific problem, back pain being the most common. A recent randomised controlled trial at Southampton University demonstrated its efficacy in this regard (see British Medical Journal 2008;337:a884, Little P, Lewith G, Webley F, et al). Pupils of the technique often report that it not only helps them with muscular aches and pains but that the benefits are myriad: general ease of movement, a sense of presence, managing stress, a way to deal with performance anxiety, quickly recovering equilibrium, heightened awareness, improved resonance and authenticity in vocal production.”

Heather Walker is a Certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, with experience working with professional performances, public speaking, and stage presence.  She is based in Nanaimo B.C, and teaches lessons and workshops in the Alexander Technique throughout Vancouver Island, greater Vancouver, and further by demand.  For more information: 250-716-3464, or info@soundbeingstudio.com

 

 

February 2017 – Running: make gravity your friend with Alexander Technique

Here on the west coast, February is almost the start of spring!  It certainly is a good time to get more active after the dark winter days, and one of the most popular activities is running.  In Vancouver and surrounding areas (including Vancouver Island), there are over 50 thousand people who train throughout January, February and March to be able to run the famous 10k Sun Run in April. However, many of these people face injury or lack of good technique while running, which hampers their fun, ease, and joy in the activity.  Here is a great online article talking about how the Alexander Technique can help runners.

Heather Walker is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, based in Nanaimo, B.C.  For more information about lessons and workshops, please phone 250-716-3464 or email info@soundbeingstudio.com.

The Irish Times

22 November 2016

Keeping your head high gives your feet a lift
OR Running: How to make gravity your friend (online title)

By Sean Carey
Sean Carey (MSTAT) talks about how the AT can prevent runners from injuries. To read the full article, click here.

Alexander Technique in the Media – Articles from the U.K., fall 2016

The Alexander Technique is well know in the Britian and the United Kingdom – after all, that is where the founder, F.M. Alexander, taught for 50 years and established his training school for other Alexander Technique teachers.  The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) was founded in the UK in 1958 by teachers trained by FM Alexander. There are currently over 2500 teaching members of STAT and its Affiliated Societies world-wide.  More info can be found at alexandertechnique.co.uk.  The Canadian Society for Teachers of the Alexander Technique (CanSTAT) lists all certified teachers here in Canada: canstat.ca.

STAT regularly publishes a list of media that have published articles about the Alexander Technique, or about it’s benefits to people doing other activities.  Here is a recent list:

Yoga
July 2016
Neurodynamics
By Ted Dimon
Article on neurodynamics explaining the key principles it’s based on. Its goal is “to bring the entire process of how we do things to a more conscious level so that we can establish and maintain the natural coordination we once possessed as children.”

Natural Health
August 2016
Back pain myths busted
STAT/Litmus PR
Brita Forsstrom (MSTAT) says that “bed rest is probably the biggest myth” as prolonged resting can weaken the muscles. She suggests the semi supine as the better alternative to take pressure off one’s back. STAT website mentioned.

CounselMagazine.co.uk
August 2016
Be upstanding in court!
By John Hunter (MSTAT)
An article outlining the benefits of the AT to the bar. You can read the full article here. STAT website mentioned.

My Weekly Summer Special
August 2016
Our A-Z guide to pain relief
By Janette Marshall
The reporter explains that the AT is “about learning how to move correctly and naturally” and how it can rectify a posture problem an relieve associated pain.

Runners World
August 2016
Run tall on the hot sand – with a crisp in each hand
By Sam Murphy
Malcolm Balk (MSTAT) talks about the different way he may offer cues to runners to help them react to the ground more quickly.

athleticsweekly.com
17 August 2016
High jump technique: Balanced approach
By Sean Carey
Sean looks at different high-jump athletes and their method of preparation and run-up. To read the article in full, click here. The article mentions STAT.

Telegraph magazine (Supp. to The Daily Telegraph)
20 August 2016
Game face
Actress Natalie Dormer reveals that during her drama studies in Webber Douglas Academy, her training included the Alexander Technique.

Woman’s Weekly
23 August 2016
How to ease inflammation…
By Rebecca Gamble
The article refers to the Arthritis Research UK funding for a study in AT and mentions that the results “suggest that using [the AT] could be beneficial for people with arthritis and joint pain”.

My Weekly
September 2016
The gentle art of staying calm
By Hazel Sillver
The journalist suggests the calming effect of the AT, teaching one “mental tricks that prevent us physically holding onto stress”.

The Sunday Telegraph
11 September 2016
Standing tall with the Alexander Technique
By Susie Mesure
The journalist talks with Sue Laurie (MSTAT) about the benefits of the AT and about her work throughout the years at the National Theatre.

The Sunday Telegraph
11 September 2016
The History of the Alexander Technique
By Susie Mesure
STAT/Litmus PR
A short history of the AT alongside the above article. STAT website mentioned.

My Weekly
13 September 2016
Love the Age you’re in!
STAT/Litmus PR
Antonella Cavallone (MSTAT) points out that improving one’s use “will also improve your circulation, breathing and digestion”. STAT website mentioned.

Womens Fitness
November 2016
The Secret for Stronger Running
By Erica Bush
STAT/Litmus PR
Malcolm Balk (MSTAT) talks about how the AT can benefit runners. STAT website mentioned.

Cumbernauld News
9 November 2016
Stress has led to an explosion in alternatives
By Julian Hearne
The article mentions the AT as being recommended by the NICE guidelines for Parkinson’s disease. Read the full article here.

The Irish Times
22 November 2016
Keeping your head high gives your feet a lift
OR Running: How to make gravity your friend (online title)

By Sean Carey
Sean Carey (MSTAT) talks about how the AT can prevent runners from injuries. To read the full article, click here.

The Courier
3 December 2016
Singing the blues away
By Gayle Ritchie
The journalist participated in a singing/AT workshop run by Jeannie MacLean (MSTAT). Jeannie explained that “singing and AT are perfect partners for exploring the potential of your natural voice through release.”

January 2017 – Alexander Technique at Trinity Western University

This year I have the priviledge of teaching a number of Alexander Technique classes for Trinity Western University in Langley.  This school has a dynamic music program with an internationally recognized choral component, and all of their music majors must take the repertory and studio class.  In this class, I am the guest instructor for 3 sessions of Alexander Technique on September 21st, October 26th, 2016 and January 25th, 2017.  In the classes I will cover many ideas and activities that are available in my standard introductory workshop for musicians.  This workshop is available to music groups on request, and I am able to customize it for a specific focus or instrument.  Please contact me at 250-716-3464 or info@soundbeingstudio.com for more information.

The Alexander Technique will help musicians:

  • Move with ease, grace, and poise
  • Improve kinaesthetic awareness & posture
  • Release muscle tension and tightness
  • Be energetic and efficient yet calm
  • Re-establish better balance
  • Change your habitual patterns of reaction
  • Perform activities with awareness and freedom
  • Learn recuperation and relaxation exercises for home
  • Understand your body’s design for efficient movement

 The Alexander Technique is taught at: Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York, The Royal College of Music in London, The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and at many other music schools._who_we_are_web_1

TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY
MUSIC 100 Repertory and Studio Class
A performance class for students of applied music for the purpose of gaining experience in public performance and increasing knowledge of music literature. Required of all music majors in each semester of the program.