Evolution of the Alexander Technique

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Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in Tasmania in 1869. He was a premature baby who suffered from ill health, yet grew up to enjoy horse riding in the great expanse of nature which surrounded him in addition to Shakespeare.

He took a number of jobs to support himself in Melbourne and elsewhere, whilst he developed his love of reciting Shakespeare in front of an audience, however he became increasingly aware that when he came to speak he experienced vocal trouble. He sought the advice of doctors and followed their advice, however when he did come to speak thereafter, he still encountered the same pervading problem. Realising this, he decided to discover the answer for himself.

He set up a room in which he observed himself in mirrors and painstakingly looked at what actually happened when he came to use his vocal mechanism. He observed at how he was using his mechanism, including his voice, ahead of speaking, most importantly considering the freedom of the neck, head balance, the back and breathing. .

This formed the basis of his teaching people to breathe in a more beneficial way whilst he was still based in Australia. He moved to London in 1904  and set up a teaching room.  People with all sorts of ‘problems’, which doctors were unable to explain and resolve, were often referred to him and returned for lessons. Gradually they found that whatever ‘symptoms’ they had experienced previously began to lessen or even disappear.

Applying what he had learned about himself, he successfully taught what we know of as the Alexander Technique and established the first training courses teaching student trainees interested to learn more about their manner of Use. The Constructive Teaching Centre still teaches its trainees in the way in which Walter Carrington was himself taught the Alexander Technique by FM Alexander himself.