Chamber Music with Amateurs and the Alexander Technique

Following an invitation of musicians of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen I contributed last weekend to a workshop for amateur chambermusic ensembles.

Alexander Technique for ambitious amateur musicians

An experiment – as nearly every professional musician has at least heard of the Alexander Technique it is totally different with the amateurs. So I heard repetitively sceptic questions like: “Why should I need this? I don´  t have any trouble.” “For pro´ s? Sure! For myself? Oh no….” A challenge.

One difference between professionals and amateurs: The former have to adjust all the time to new requirements (changing conducters, changing conditions) – not to forget the ongoing competing with collegues. The latter enjoy the habit, the ritual. They partly know the pieces that they play for decades – like faithful friends and companions in emotional life situations. The ritualized session for making music offers structure, relaxation and and contact.

What can you as an amateur musician benefit from AT lessons?

  1. You as an amateur can also hurt through obstructive habits. And the older one gets the worse it becomes. At the latest when you want to quit a session because of back pain it is time to look at these habits.
  2. To play an instrument which was learned as a child can create ambivalent emotions. Maybe it wasn´ t the instrument of the own desire. Maybe there were pressure and punishment. Maybe one was laughed at (I just mention: “recorder”) All this experiences are connected with our physical habits. Establish the joy, that the instrument brought to your life!. Clear out the obstructive habits! There are many pleasing experiences lying ahead of you – with yourself and your instrument! And it´s never too late to discover a new freedom in playing.
  3. Playing as an ensemble isn´ t always just nice… Ensemble play is teamwork. Different skills, abilities and interests ask to be coordinated. With such a passionate hobby making music can become heatedly. A musical Alexander Technique Teacher offers new ideas how you can coordinate yourself – really relaxes and with a lot of fun!
  4. Stage fright and nerves is in my experience a huge topic for amateurs. The fact that you don´ t have to pass an audition doesn´  t calm the nerves. And often you find yourself calm during the whole day and once you´ re on stage the adrenaline hits and you have to deal with sweating hands and a shaking bow.

Today I received this feedback from one of the participants.

“I really internalized these days because of the pleasure of the growth of our project and because of your quiet yet intensive presence by which you accompanied us – in an listening and consultative manner. By this something very pleasurable withstands and for this I want to thank you from my heart.

My heart is full with pleasure. And music.

Below you can find a “play list” of the music I could enjoy during my work!

If you want to get “unstuck” with something in your ensemble, if you have to deal with physical challenges or if you just want to experience the technique that the pro´ s trust feel free to leave me a message via my contact form.

Alexander Technique is for ambitious amateur musicians too.

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