The Alexander Technique can be vital for musicians.

We form habits of slumping while playing, combined with slumping at the computer and everywhere else. These postural habits might eventually cause back pain, or neck and shoulder tension.

At the very least bad posture, which includes both slumping and being rigidly straight, military posture style, may be preventing you from getting the sound you want or the technique you desire. It can also make playing music less pleasurable, contribute to stage fright, and cut your career short. In my case, years of hunching over the vibraphone eventually caused painful bone spurs in my cervical spine (the base of my neck) pinching nerves leading to my hand. I got away with horrible posture for years, but eventual my body rebelled. Avoid this if you can. More here.

Frank Pierce Jones wrote in Collected Writings on the Alexander Technique:

“There are musicians—some say there were more of them in the past—who get as much pleasure from a performance as they give, who always perform easily and well, and who use themselves so efficiently that their professional lives and their natural lives coincide. There are others, however, with equal talent and training, to whom performance and even practice are exhausting, and whose professional lives are cut short because they lose the mastery of the skills they have acquired. They put forth more effort in solving technical problems than the results warrant, and ultimately discover that they have used up their reserves of energy. If they understood the use of themselves as well as they understand the use of their instruments, such breakdowns would be far less frequent.

In practice and performance, however, a musician’s attention is given almost exclusively to what he is doing with his hands or his feet or his vocal organs, and to the sounds they are producing. Of what he is doing with the rest of his body, he usually knows very little. 

We know very little about how to use our neck, back, arms and shoulders, until they demand our attention. Don’t let it go as long as I did. Learn the Alexander Technique and use the Alexander Technique to help you play with more control, technique, freedom, joy, and ease.

Mark Josefsberg-Alexander Technique NYC

(917) 709-4648