The Alexander Technique Applied To The Piano
Date : 31/08/2017
In this article I will give you some general notes about the Alexander Technique, which I would be delighted to transmit more fully during our piano lessons.During my career as a pianist I have suffered various aches and pains as a result of playing the piano. It may seem normal, because sitting in front of the piano for hours is a very repetitive posture but since I discovered the Alexander Technique my musical life has improved a lot.The Alexander Technique teaches the pianist to re-educate his body, helping him regain his natural posture little by little, leaving behind bad body habits caused by his misuse.The care of the body`s functioning in music brings considerable benefits both physically and psychologically. Greater balance in the body-mind unit is the basis for better musicality.The essential concept is to `undo` for a few moments, to stop working in the usual way. The importance of the semi-supine position is essential in the progression of the Alexander Technique. Judith Kleinman and Peter Buckoke explain it in `The Alexander Technique for musicians`:"How to adopt semi-supine? You lay on your back, head on a book or books with your legs folded/knees up. The thickness of the books under your head should be guided by your teacher at first, but do experiment when you have used semi-supine regularly for some time. [...] The head is in line with the spine it does not tip back, putting pressure into the back of the neck and stretching the throat it is not pushed forward, compressing the throat and stretching the back of the neck. We feel comfortable when the head is freely balancing on the book. [...] Your arms and hands can be by your side or flexed so your hands rest on your abdomen. [...] Your feet connect easily with the floor your feet can spread out as you let go of unnecessary tension.'lt;/p>Practicing semi-supine everyday helps you to improve your physical and mental well-being. The benefits of practicing regularly the semi-supine position are considerable, both in the corporal area and in the psychological one.In our brief incursion in this article into the Alexander Technique, it is also important to highlight that our body usually understands as correct certain positions that are not. Therefore it is key to use mirrors or recordings from time to time to observe if the use of our body is correct if we are performing some incorrect position while we study or play in a concert.Once aware of the bad habit, the operative sequence is as follows:1. Inhibition: consciously stopping incorrect postural mechanisms.2. Direction: directing from the thought a better corporal use.So if we detect some stimulus causing a misuse, we need to STOP immediately, and our thinking contributes a conscious and effective guide to the body functioning. Having a free neck is a key sensation to achieve the necessary progress in the Alexander Technique. It produces an organising effect on the whole of our body.The relationship between the neck, head and back at the piano is the way to play more musically and without aches or pains. General posture, the placement of the stool, the position of the legs, the back and shoulders can give you another level in your interpretations.
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