The Alexander Technique: A proven method

Take your piano playing
to a level you never dreamed possible

A pre-recital talk I gave to members of the Boston Piano Amateur Association in November, 2009. -Mike

I began studying the Alexander Technique 7 years ago. After taking a 10-week course at the Boston Conservatory, I realized that this method presented a path that would allow me to overcome the plateau that I had reached after playing piano for 35 years – it gave me hope and inspiration.

Over these past 7 years, I have noticed dramatic changes in my playing. I do not see a limit to this work. As I continue my Alexander Technique practice, I believe and know that eventually I will be able to play Gaspard de la Nuit with ease and poise, something I never dreamed possible.

I have studied with great teachers
at some of the best conservatories in the world
and do not know of another technique or method
that would make this possible.

So, what is the Alexander Technique and how does it work?

My definition: The Alexander Technique is a proven method of changing habits that interfere with optimal use.  You all know what habits are but, what do I mean by optimal use?

One way to define optimal use is through example. Think of someone you know in the performing arts or an athlete who performs in an effortless, fluid, graceful way.

Who comes to mind? …

For me, Arthur Rubinstein in piano; Mikhail Baryshnikov in dance; Roger Federer in tennis; Michael Jordan in basketball; Tiger Woods in golf – all demonstrate optimal use. They make what they do look easy and effortless.

These artists and athletes do not need to study the Alexander Technique – they are undoubtedly more gifted than most people, but, also, have learned not to interfere with their kinaesthetic or what I call their built-in GPS  – Gravity Processing System.

We all have one of these so-called, Gravity Processing Systems. It is designed to support us if we can learn how to cooperate with it and not interfere with it. And, while studying the Alexander Technique will not make you play like Arthur Rubenstein, it will show you how it’s possible to play at your optimal level.

So, what’s unusual about the Alexander Technique, is that it does not teach you anything that you do not already know. Rather, it makes you aware of what you are doing that is interfering – it is an unlearning or non-doing technique.

In 500BC, the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching: Practice non-doing and everything will fall into place. FM Alexander has a similar saying: The right thing does itself.

I invite all of you who are passionate about playing the piano to experience the Alexander Technique and decide for your self if this is something that will help take your playing to a level you never dreamed possible:  Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!