Conducting (Conductors) – Do Less and Less Work (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on June 6, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Conducting (Conductors’) 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 conducting 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.

When I was an aspiring concert guitarist at the Royal College of Music in London, I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. I went to an Alexander Technique teacher, and realized for the first time that I was ruining my left wrist, because I was pressing the strings incredibly hard to create the cleanest guitar playing possible. I also had poor posture.

If I had continued to do what I was doing to create clean playing on the guitar, I would have permanently damaged my wrist. So, what is the Alexander Technique solution for a conductor who conducts with too much tension, potentially causing physical problems?

CONDUCT WITH FULLY UPRIGHT BALANCED FLOWING POSTURE, AND DO THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PHYSICAL WORK TO GET THE JOB DONE WITH THE HIGHEST DYNAMIC (ENERGY). YOU CAN ALWAYS DO LESS THAN YOU’RE DOING AS YOU CONDUCT TO CREATE THE PERFORMANCE YOU WANT. What do I mean?

First, if you have poor posture as you conduct, your body HAS to do more muscular work to hold you up as you conduct, because your whole body is off balance. Simply, when you conduct with a misaligned posture, your musculature has to compensate for your skeleton stacking up poorly, and you CAN’T do the least amount of work possible as you stand or sit.

Second, if you conduct with excess tension, then your whole body is working too hard to create an accurate performance, and you can’t do the least amount work necessary to create the physically most effortless performance. You are conducting with fear – trying to avoid mistakes, rather than trusting your hands and arms.

What does it mean to conduct doing less work? It is about what your whole body is doing as you conduct. It is about you starting a practice session consciously asking your whole body to do less and less work, as you conduct without an orchestra or choral group. When you do this, then conducting alone is not an unconscious ritual you do before conducting a group.

As you conduct alone, do a very slow internal inventory of what is happening in your whole body. This means that you observe and ask your thighs to do less work as you conduct. You observe and ask your neck to release as you conduct. You observe and ask your hands and arms to do less as you conduct. You observe and ask your shoulders to float on your torso as you conduct.

This places your warm up in the service of you being in loving conscious control of your whole body, and doing less daily is cumulative. This means that every day you conduct, if you monitor and release the amount of work you are doing from head to toe, you will continue to do less and less muscular work.

You will do less and less work in your conducting to create a superior performance. The psychological and spiritual implications are profound. In other words, as you do less and less work to conduct the performance you want, you will begin to experience conducting as something that does itself truly effortlessly.

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