Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Alex­an­der Technique

Course description

The course is an introduction to the efficient use of the self, using the principles of the Alexander Technique. The aim of the course will be to help students to develop a deeper understanding of how to best make use of their natural talent and abilities as a performer.

Course coordinator: Stephen Parker.

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course students are expected to

  • have the ability to reduce the effect of damaging or unproductive tendencies while practicing and performing
  • have the capacity to critically observe themselves and their fellow students, and to give constructive advice based on the principles of the Alexander Technique
  • be able to recognize personal habits that impede coordination of mind and body, have the means to work on these, and the insight into how to apply the Alexander Technique in order to help optimize personal practice and performance

Overview

The course will introduce the basic concepts of the Alexander technique, specifically in relation to the application of the technique to musicianship (playing, singing and preparation for these activities). Issues of stage fright will also be addressed. The technique will be modeled around basic anatomical relationships, and these will be introduced in a systematic way both in a general sense and more specifically in relation to instrument types and groups.

Topics:

  • Principles of the technique (recognition of habit, inhibition, direction).
  • Reading materials and recommended course books.
  • Practical daily use of the technique both with and away from an instrument.
  • breathing and the usefulness of exercises.

Structure

Teaching will take place both in groups and individually. There will also be experiential work and written work that will be inspired by essential reading and the personal experience of applying Alexander’s ideas. In addition, students would be expected to apply the work outside the lessons.

Course requirements

  1. Participation in the scheduled lessons is compulsory. Absence of more than 20% will normally lead to failure of the course.
  2. The course includes a written summary essay, 1600-2000 words, submitted by 15 April.

Final assessment

All coursework requirements (arbeidskrav) must be approved prior to obtaining final assessment.

Students are assessed in correspondence to the learning outcomes of the course. The final assessment will be given as a mark of “passed”/”failed” for each individual student, which shall be determined on the basis of her or his level demonstrated through the course work.

New assessment

Students failing the course will have to apply to re-follow the course for new assessment. Students may only re-follow the course if there are available places.

Recommended reading

Course books:

  • P. de Alcantara, Indirect Procedures (Oxford University Press, 1997)
  • F. M. Alexander, The Use of the Self (Centerline Press, 1984)

Additional reading:

  • M. Gelb, Body Learning (London, 1981)
  • M Vineyard, How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live (Marlowe, 2007)

Study component