Viola – Filling in the Gaps in Technique and Posture (Musicians, Psychology, Pain, Strain, Injuries, Posture, Alexander Technique)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on November 20, 2015

This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Viola 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 viola 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.

Is there anything inherent about great posture and great technique when you play an instrument, sing, or conduct?

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE APPROACH TO GREAT POSTURE IS TO SHOW THE PERFORMING MUSICIAN OR CONDUCTOR HOW TO FIND HIS OR HER WAY BACK TO THE INCREDIBLY BALANCED POSTURE OF A HAPPY CHILD, AND TO APPLY THIS INHERENT EASE IN MOVEMENT OF THE HAPPY CHILD TO PLAYING, SINGING, OR CONDUCTING. What do I mean?

Let me explain why I say happy child. If you accept that the body follows the mind, then it is impossible for an unhappy child to choose to move with ease and balance and high energy. If the child carries this unhappy posture into learning to play, sing, or conduct, then the odds are the posture and technique of the performer or conductor will be tense and/or collapsed.

Is this unfixable? No! An Alexander Technique teacher can teach the player, singer, or conductor how to move with great ease and balance and technique, as if they had always performed or conducted that way.

Clearly a performing musician needs to learn how to play, sing, or conduct, but what is it that happens when a student is called a “natural”? I believe one of two things is happening or both at the same time.

The performer or conductor has not lost the ease of movement of a peaceful childhood and brings this into technique and posture in playing, singing, or conducting.

The performer or conductor has a teacher who embodies ease of movement and technique, and the student mimics the teacher.

Or both.

Let me list some of these qualities of posture and technique that the “natural” performer or conductor embody. They are:

1.The performer or conductor doesn’t tense before playing, singing, or conducting.
2.The performer or conductor unconsciously or consciously lets the bones support the musculature.
3.The performer’s or conductor’s musculature is very animated and energized without tension in performing or conducting.
4.The performer or conductor doesn’t immobilize any part of the body when playing, singing, or conducting.
5.The performer or conductor trusts the body to do what is asked of the body in performing or conducting without trying to get it right.

Let me list some of these qualities of posture and technique that cause the performer or conductor to experience pain and strain. They are:

1.The performer or conductor tenses/immobilizes the body before playing, singing, or conducting to establish good technique, and tries to guarantee accuracy in performing or conducting.
2.The performer or conductor plays, sings, or conducts always TRYING to get it right in performing or conducting, which is another way of saying prevent mistakes by using tension to minimize excess movement.
3.The performer or conductor is always focused on what they want rather on how they do it, which means the resulting performance is always being striven for no matter the physical and emotional cost. In other words mastery trumps taking care of the body.

An approach to performing or conducting that embodies a posture and technique that causes pain and strain is NOT inherent. It is unconsciously or consciously using posture and technique that grows out a difficult childhood and possibly difficult teachers. I believe no child is inherently unhappy but learns to be unhappy. I believe children are born happy.

So, when an unhappy child begins to perform or conduct, he or she is going to impose a learned way of being emotionally onto a body that will carry poor posture into poor technique and eventually cause physical problems.

The Alexander Technique solution to this problem is to restore the player, singer, or conductor to a way of performing or conducting, as if the performing or conductor had never lost ease and balance and trust in his or her body and self.

When a music teacher teaches a child to play, sing, or conduct with generally good principles of great posture and great technique, then what the student does with these rules is determined by what the student brings to the lesson. What do I mean?

The student who brings ease of movement, coordination, and self trust to a lesson will take what the music teacher has to offer and fill in the gaps with good to great technique and posture.

The student who brings fear and physical tension to a lesson with a good music teacher will fill in the gaps with a technique and posture that will probably lead to average or poor playing and injuries in the future.

What do I mean by “fill in the gaps”? What are these gaps?

THE GAPS IN TECHNIQUE AND POSTURE ARE WHAT IS LEFT UP TO THE STUDENT TO FIGURE OUT. THIS MEANS THAT THE STUDENT HAS TO FIGURE OUT ON HIS OR HER OWN WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE, HOW TO FIND EASE OF MOVEMENT IN A SPECIFIC TECHNIQUE, AND WHAT THE WHOLE BODY DOES WHEN PLAYING, SINGING, OR CONDUCTING.

These gaps are usually filed in unconsciously by the player, singer, or conductor. If the student brings a happy childhood and coordinated posture to the lesson, the gaps will be filled in with ease of technique in performing or conducting. If the student brings tension and hunkering down to a lesson, the gaps will be filled in by a posture and technique that cause wear and tear, no matter how great the player, singer, or conductor becomes.

IT IS THE JOB OF THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE TEACHER TO BRING TO CONSCIOUSNESS WHAT THE PERFORMER OR CONDUCTOR IS DOING INHERENTLY RIGHT, TO HELP THE PERFORMER OR CONDUCTOR LET GO OF WHAT IS LEARNED POOR POSTURE AND TECHNIQUE THAT IS WEARING OUT THE BODY, AND TO TEACH THE PERFORMER OR CONDUCTOR TO FILL IN THE GAPS WITH GREAT POSTURE AND TECHNIQUE.

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