Harpsichord – Inhibition in the Alexander Technique (Musicians)(Psychology)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on April 8, 2014

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Harpsichord 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 harpsichord 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.

INHIBITION is one of the most powerful tools in the Alexander Technique. It gives the harpsichord player a tool to change any aspect of her harpsichord technique and posture that doesn’t work with what works. Inhibition helps the harpsichord player identify what is interfering with the harpsichord player creating the most user friendly harpsichord technique and posture possible, and then to be able to change what isn’t working.

INHIBITION ALLOWS THE HARPSICHORD PLAYER TO LET GO OF WHAT ISN’T WORKING, AND TO REPLACE IT WITH WHAT DOES WORK AT THE HARPSICHORD.

Inhibition is what you do after you’ve identified what is not working in your harpsichord technique. Let me explain. By the time a harpsichord player has discovered, after years of playing, that there are aspects of the harpsichord player’s technique and posture that are interfering with the harpsichord player’s ability to play all of the music that the harpsichord player would like to play, these destructive habits are as central to the harpsichord player’s technique as the productive ones are.

So, how do you throw out the bath water, without throwing out the baby? You identify and list what is compromising your harpsichord playing, and you also make a second list of what it is that works in your harpsichord technique, and you only keep the good list.

There are the typical big postural problems – slumped or over-arched posture, obvious tension throughout the body, from hands to legs. Then there are the much more subtle problems, which may be a matter of degree. What I mean, is there may be postural and technique things that you do that are not obvious to anyone but an Alexander Technique teacher.

Ex: If right before the harpsichord player plays, she locks his neck, then this can be pretty invisible to most people. If right before the harpsichord player plays, she slightly tilts the head backwards, this can be almost undetectable. If every time there is a difficult passage, the harpsichord player holds her breath, this can be pretty invisible. If every time, in a very rhythmic piece, the harpsichord player pulls slightly downward, shortening her spine to feel the beat, this can be a very subtle habit that interferes with coordination. This rhythmic hunkering down can compress the nerves that originate at the spinal cord.

So, what is the act of inhibition or inhibiting? If right before you do what you have always done at the harpsichord, just before you play, you stop and choose to do something new, then you have just inhibited what isn’t serving you.

Ex: Just as the harpsichord player is about to play, she notices she is tilting the head backward and pulling down. The harpsichord player stops – doesn’t play. She now chooses not to tilt the head backward, and right after that new choice, she then plays.

What I have just described is inhibition or inhibiting a habit. It very subtle and very powerful, because for the first time, the harpsichord player has chosen not to initiate playing with a bad habit.

She has chosen to play without unconscious tension and compression of the neck/spine. Bringing this into the harpsichord player’s awareness is moving harpsichord playing away from being something you fix, to being something where you are truly experiencing all of your subtle habits, good and bad, you have played the harpsichord with. Now you have the tool, INHIBITION, that will allow you to perceive and choose which habits you want to keep or release.

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE DOES TWO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS. IT TRULY RAISES YOUR AWARENESS OF WHAT YOU ARE DOING AT THE HARPSICHORD TO A LEVEL THAT SHOWS YOU HOW YOU COMPROMISE YOUR TALENT, AND IT GIVES YOU THE TOOLS TO STOP DOING THIS.

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