Mindful Movement = Mindful Music

The Alexander Technique

This week the Visual and Performing Arts teachers of Miami-Dade County Public School teachers attended a workshop on the Alexander Technique. If you are like me, you may never have heard of the Alexander Technique before.

MDCPS teachers discuss the anatomy of the torso in order to better understand what occurs when we move.

MDCPS teachers discuss the anatomy of the torso in order to better understand what occurs when we move.

What is the Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is a method of learning that teaches how to interact with the world around you by using mindfulness as a way to engage your body. The technique asks you to reassess your relationship to your body by noting the sensations that arise when you do certain tasks; these tasks can be as simple as sitting down and standing up, walking, or picking up your cell phone for starters.

MDCPS teachers are led through an exercise of mindfully moving through the basic tasks of sitting and standing.

We learn to do these tasks without thought, with a goal-oriented mindset and, in the process, create years and years of tension through improper use. This can look like anything from bending at the incorrect anatomical location, or holding our heads in a strenuous position, to general lack of awareness on how to properly use these well-oiled machines we call our bodies.

Visual and Perfoming Arts teachers create a shape in each hand, one in front and one behind their head, in order to exercise their kinesthetic sense—an innate awareness of our own body.

Visual and Perfoming Arts teachers create a shape in each hand, one in front and one behind their head, in order to exercise their kinesthetic sense—an innate awareness of our own body.

What are the Benefits of Lessons or Classes?

The benefits of Alexander Technique lessons include reduced pain and tension, reduced stress and anxiety and overall well being. AT is especially helpful for performers, artists, musicians, but in reality, it’s most beneficial for anyone who wants to empower themselves to a more positive relationship towards their body. In other words, it’s a method of relearning how to move freely by creating new habits that override the old pain-forming habits.

Workshop participants are asked to drive their head and asked to redefine what Forward and Up means in regards to proper alignment of the skull.

While words are certainly a start in explaining the Alexander Technique, it is something different entirely when you watch the process, or even better, engage in it yourself. Here are a few clips of the workshop.

Workshop instructor and AT teacher-in-training assists a MDCPS teacher in making minor adjustments to illustrate how we can improve our well-being through slight, intentional changes.

Workshop instructor and AT teacher-in-training assists a MDCPS teacher in making minor adjustments to illustrate how we can improve our well-being through slight, intentional changes.

Why does Share the Music Miami have to do with the Alexander Technique?

One of the benefits of learning music through Share the Music is that our one-on-one lessons tailor to the individual. With individual attention, there is more recognition of proper ways to use the body, and therefore, more ability to establish healthy lifelong habits. Students of STM taking viola or violin lessons are able to work with STM teacher Vivian who is training to be certified in the Alexander Technique.