Viola – Primary Control in the Alexander Technique (Musicians)(Pain)(Strain)(Injuries)(Posture)(Albuquerque)

by ethankind on May 22, 2012

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.

Primary Control is the basis of organized coordinated viola playing in the Alexander Technique. When a violist is playing the viola with the most organized elegant movement possible, then the head is leading the violist’s spine into lengthening, as the arms and fingers move from a decompressed, vertically balanced, and aligned spine.

This means that all of the nerves that radiate from the spinal cord have no pressure on them. So, the nerves can send the signals from the brain for movement and/or muscular support, as you play the viola, without being slowed down by the vertebrae and muscles pinching the nerves.

The brain and spinal cord always organize the movement that the body produces, but when the Primary Control is interfered with by muscular tension and compression and poor posture, then that organization is poor organization. THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE IS ALL ABOUT THE QUALITY OF A VIOLIST’S POSTURE AND TECHNIQUE.

The Alexander Technique recognizes that a huge amount of wear and tear and physical pain on the viola is caused by how you play, not by what you play or how long you play.

The assumption in the Alexander Technique is that we are born with an innate ability to move with beautiful Primary Control, and that babies crawl with the head leading a lengthening spine naturally, given that the baby is healthy in a healthy environment.

If you were to observe a 1,000 violists playing, you’d be hard put to see one violist playing with beautiful Primary Control (given that none of them had done any Alexander Technique work). What does playing the viola without a compromised Primary Control look like?

The viola player sits or stands fully upright with a completely mobile body (not trying to sit or stand straight). The violist’s neck is free and the player is aware that the head is leading a lengthening spine upward, which means that the violist is able to see his or her fingers and bow, as the head continues to lead a lengthening spine upward (even with the chin on the viola).

This means that the violist is completely engaged in playing the viola without being pulled downward into the instrument. This fully upward mobile posture balancing on the sit bones or standing balanced on free legs, gives the shoulders and arms of the violist a balanced torso to float on, so that the performer can effortlessly generate the tone, volume, and accuracy that he or she wants from the instrument.

When the violist’s shoulders are floating/supported by a fully upright torso, then the shoulder girdle is free to back up the arms and hands as the violist plays, and the shoulder girdle doesn’t have to tense up to support itself.

When the violist’s body is organized by the Primary Control, then the performer is free to place all of his or her awareness on a viola technique that isn’t being compromised by a compromised Primary Control. In other words, if the violist’s body is collapsed or over-tense with poor head/neck/spine organization, then the pure specific viola technique of the violist can never be what it would be, since it is not backed up by a balanced body.

WHEN THE FOUNDATION OF COORDINATED ELEGANT HUMAN MOVEMENT IS COMPROMISED, THEN THE SECONDARY TECHNIQUE OF A SPECIALIZED ACTIVITY, LIKE PLAYING THE VIOLA, WILL NEVER BE AS EFFORTLESS OR AS CONSISTENT AS IT COULD BE.

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