Bassoon – Directing (Direction) in the Alexander Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on June 2, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Double Bass Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate bass technique you want without sacrificing your body.
This ebook is also for sale on all AMAZON websites in a KINDLE format.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)

When you play the bassoon with the head flowing upward, this is called DIRECTION or DIRECTING in the Alexander Technique. Directing means that there is an upward flow, upward direction, an upward vector in the bassoonist’s body. This means that the bassoonist is ordering the head to lead the spine upward, so that all of the disks and vertebrae are decompressed, so the bassoonist can have superb posture and technique organization.

This is a central principle of the Alexander Technique – the body is organized in vectors, directing, and not in held positions. Directing is the head LEADING the spine into lengthening. This is not an alignment to be held. Think about it. When you play the bassoon you are not moving a great deal, and if you immobilize any part of your body, you are setting yourself up for the pain of static compression of the joints.

You can look good holding a specific posture and holding a specific bassoon technique, but you will eventually feel bad, because you have immobilized part or all of your body, as you simultaneously hold with excess tension to play the bassoon. You have asked the impossible of your body, which means you have put yourself/body in a double bind. When you need internal movement in your body and immobilize it at the same time, the result is pain, strain, compression, and injury.

The Alexander Technique is extraordinary at asking the body to do THE POSSIBLE. It does this incredibly well, because the Alexander Technique uses a belief system and vocabulary that is very accurate. What I mean, is that what we teach bassoonists is very clear and very possible and very kind to the body.

When you are directing on the bassoon, there as a very light, powerful, and dynamic spine being led into lengthening upward, as you send your fingers and breath into the bassoon. Directing is bringing to full consciousness what the healthy happy baby does, but usually loses once in school and possibly on the bassoon.

So many bassoonists have learned that the goal of fine bassoon playing may override taking care of your body, and, “that’s just the way it is”. This does not have to happen if you play the bassoon directing, you trust your hand and embouchure to be accurate, and you don’t do anything in your bassoon technique that will eventually cause harm to the body.

Implicit in directing is that you are taking care of your body as you play the bassoon. To make directing an integral part of your bassoon technique, you have to practice the bassoon as you direct. This means that you treat directing the same as your lips, fingers, and hands. (I’m assuming that you treat your lips, fingers, and hands with love and patience, and that is how you will approach reclaiming directing.)

Remember you naturally directed when you were a crawling baby, so when you organize your body on the bassoon with direction, you are reclaiming your birthright.

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