Harp – When It Is Easier to Be Fully Upright (Musicians, Psychology, Pain, Strain, Injuries, Posture, Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on October 26, 2015

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Harp 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 harp 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.

A performing musician usually goes to an Alexander Technique when he or she is in pain. What the performer finds out is that this physical pain in performance is caused by a combination of poor posture and a technique that uses too much effort to get the job done.

In this article I want to address posture rather than technique.

Most performing musicians who come to me in physical trouble have poor posture and/or too much tension in their bodies, from trying to maintain good posture. Let me define the difference between poor posture and a descent posture sustained with excess tension.

Poor posture for a musician is usually an instrument played or a song sung with a curved forward spine and a collapsed head jutting forward, or an arched backward torso where the performer is bending over backward, but thinks he or she has good posture.

In either case the performer is physically shorter than when he or she is in balanced fully upright alignment. In the Alexander Technique this fully upright balanced posture in performing is done without immobilizing any part of the body from head to toe.

Unless you’ve experienced this powerful upright released posture, then it is hard to imagine it being possible.

Here is a definition of posture with too much tension, both poor and fairly well aligned. If you are fully upright and your alignment is good, and you’re using too much muscle, you will probably cause physical pain at some point, because you’re stopping internal and external movement in your body as you play or sing.

If you are using too much tension and have poor posture at the same time, then you are combining the two most destructive ways of using your body in playing or singing. What I mean is you are immobilizing your musculature and exhausting it as you perform. You are also forcing the bones of your skeleton closer and closer together and causing wear and tear to the cartilage with each movement as you play or sing.

There is one other form of poor postural use, and that involves poor posture and an under toned body. This means you’re playing in postural collapse, and this is also very hard on the skeletal joints. This means the skeleton is essentially falling out of alignment, rather than being held rigid in alignment. This causes wear and tear to the joints and over-stretching to the musculature, which leads to the performer’s posture getting worse and worse.

What is it that is happening that is so unique to the Alexander Technique, when it is physically EASIER TO RELEASE INTO FULLY UPRIGHT POSTURE, rather than collapse or lock into a held posture?

IT MEANS AS A PERFORMER THAT YOU HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THERE IS A PLACE OF ALIGNMENT AND MUSCULAR USE THAT FEELS SO GOOD AS YOU SIT OR STAND TO PERFORM, THAT YOU DO THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MUSCULAR WORK TO PERFORM WITH AN INCREDIBLE SENSE OF WELL BEING.

What is this magic place and how do you perform in it most of the time?

It is a place where the Alexander Technique teacher looks at basic body movements and performing, and gently guides you with his or her hands and verbal instructions into fully upright posture. You are led into NOT trying to hold onto the new alignment. This means you begin to experience that fully open and upright posture at your full height is LESS work than anything else you could possibly do.

Once you feel how incredibly good it feels in your body to experience fully upright and mobile posture in standing and sitting and performing, it is something you crave. Why?

BECAUSE THE MOMENT YOU FEEL HOW INCREDIBLY GOOD IT FEELS TO NOT HUNKER DOWN OR “HUNKER UP”, YOU ALSO FOR THE FIRST TIME REALIZE YOU’VE BEEN GOING THROUGH LIFE IN ALMOST CONSTANT PHYSICAL PAIN AND DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT!

This is when for the first time as you play or sing you experience that asking your body to release and lengthen fully upward feels incredibly good. This release is felt throughout your whole body as less work than anything else you had been doing to avoid discomfort.

What I just described is perceived by most musical performers as asking for the impossible. It isn’t impossible, and it is yours for the asking from a certified Alexander Technique teacher.

Why do I say certified Alexander Technique teacher? Because a certified Alexander Technique teacher has gone through at least three years of experiencing this place of joyous upright release as core to his or her training. This means a certified Alexander Technique teacher can say, “DO WHAT I SAY AND WHAT I DO”, as the teacher is embodying everything you want of your body as you perform.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

© 2011 All Rights Reserved