Flute – Opposition in the Alexander Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on May 29, 2012

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Flute 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 flute 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)

Opposition is an Alexander Technique concept that is about the physical relationships within one’s body, and your relationship to what you are doing. It is a concept put into practice that teaches you how not to collapse into your body and how not to collapse into what you’re doing.

Applied to the flute, it means you don’t collapse toward the flute as you play the flute or pull the flute toward your body. (You do what is just right for the embouchure.) If you observe a 1,000 flutists, you will see most of them not in a truly effortless postural upright balance to the flute. They are usually collapsing downward to the instrument and their hands, or arching away from the flute, even as their heads are pulling toward the instrument.

The internal aspect of opposition means that as you collapse downward toward the flute, it means you’re head is closer to your hands and your legs, as you pull your head down to see the music and control the instrument, which means you’re skeleton is not in opposition posturally and between your joints.

The psychological component of this is that you are trying to get your head closer to what you’re doing, to get control of your flute playing. You unconsciously are attempting to be more accurate by being very close to what you are doing. It is actually physicalizing fear posturally, because you’re afraid of making a mistake.

Most of us learned to do this when we learned to read and write in school, attempting to read or write well for a good grade, with our heads two inches away from the book or paper. You also learned to do this when you were a beginner on the flute, attempting to get control by pulling toward the flute.

WHEN YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO STAND OR SIT FULLY UPRIGHT WITH THE FLUTE WITH BALANCED POSTURE AND YOUR HEAD RELEASING UPWARD, YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR BODY, TECHNIQUE, AND SELF, AND YOU WILL ULTIMATELY BE IN GREATER CONTROL OF THE FLUTE.

Opposition is an extraordinary concept, that when put into practice, allows you to use your body in relationship to the flute in such a balanced way, that you are able to do the least amount of work necessary to play the flute with effortless coordination.

Being in opposition to the flute is also a physicalizing of how you want your relationship to be to the flute. What I mean, is if you are pulling downward and toward the flute, then you are not conscious in the moment of how you are using your body. In other words, your desire to play the flute well is shaping your posture and your technique, and you are not in control.

When you consciously choose your posture and your technique and remain conscious of how you want to be in relationship to the flute, then you are choosing also how you want to feel about the flute. This means as you stand or sit fully upright with the flute, aware of your head, neck, and torso balanced upward and flowing upward instead of toward the flute, and you send your hands and arms to the flute instead of pulling the flute toward your body, then you aren’t playing with tunnel vision.

Tunnel vision leads to tunnel posture, which means as you play the flute without opposition, your technique and posture is being forced on you, because you are trying to get the music right. Rather than you choosing to stand or sit up and balanced and watching it unfold in the moment, you are using excess tension and poor posture to try as hard as you can to play well.

IT IS AN AMAZING FEELING WHEN YOU PLAY THE FLUTE MAKING ALL OF THE POSTURAL AND TECHNIQUE DECISIONS, RATHER THAN THE FLUTE AND MUSIC FORCING YOU TO SACRIFICE YOUR BODY, BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF THE FLUTE AT ANY COST.

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