Alexander Technique: What it is?

When I first entered college I had heard about a class called the Alexander Technique and I had NO idea what it was. During my first few college voice lessons my teacher asked me “Have you ever tried Alexander Technique?” You see, I tend to hold all of my tension in my jaw and as a singer that is a BAD thing. It kept me from going to that next step, it kept me from practicing more because it hurt, and in general it just held me back. So even though I still had NO idea what Alexander Technique was, my voice teacher convinced me to sign up for the Alexander Technique class, which is a hard thing to schedule when you are a double music major (no extra time, anywhere!).

On my first day of class, in walks the Instructor, Jane Comfort Brown, who has been teaching the Alexander Technique since 1975. She moves with an ease and grace that you do not see in a 70+ year old. She started off with the basics and as the semester moved along she would work with everyone individually to help them with their individual problems. It was amazing. When I actually thought about what the Alexander Technique has taught me, the tension in my jaw would disappear and I would be able to sing for hours on end. I continued to take at least one class a year to keep up with the thinking and it was one of the things that got me through my Vocal Performance (and Arts Administration) Degree. Not only did I use the thinking while I was singing, but also to help me play piano, to write papers, to sit in class, and to walk from one side of the campus to another. Just thinking about the Alexander Technique helps me to relax my muscles and release whatever tension I am holding.

If you are interested in learning more about the Alexander Technique, please join the MYA Family on Friday, August 17that 10am. Alexander Technique Instructor, John Henes (from Northwestern and DePaul) will be presenting a workshop at the MYA center in the South Hall.

This workshop is made possible by the generosity of MYA Voices Rising member, Jenna Getty who fund-raised for MYA as part of her Bat Mitzvah.  Jenna Getty has been a member of Voices Rising since the Fall of 2009.

This blog was submitted by Chelsa Peterson, MYA Auditions Coordinator, Summer Program Director, Choral Program Administrator (We all wear many hats at MYA!)

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