10:39am // Now that summer is here and the stressors and pressures of the semester have passed, I’ve had a bit more time to relax and to think. In the heat of continually encroaching deadlines and high demand coming from all directions, it can be very easy to get in the habit of putting your head down and pushing, battling and struggling through your work all without thinking. Sure there might be the recurring thought of, “ok what’s next on the to do list?”, or “is A flat really the note I want in the cello in the fourth beat of the second bar?”, or “practice, you must practice!”, but some of the more important thoughts like, “what’s really the best use of my time right now?”, and “should I really be obsessing so much about that one A flat in the cello at the expense of the big picture?”, or “how can I utilize body and technique in a way that will actually help me get the most out of my practicing?” seem to get thrown out the window in our mad rush to get things done. I find it a further irony that these important considerations and thoughts often get thrown aside at precisely the moment when they are most needed; in the episodes where our resources of time are in the highest demand.
The arrival of summer has also afforded me time to begin study of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is closely associated with the task of discovering the best, most efficient, and tension free use of the body, but what I’ve found in the few weeks since I began my study, is that the Alexander Technique also provides a powerful tool to maximize the efficiency of the mind and the way in which we go about living our lives. To me, the essence of the technique is the development of the ability to bring our own actions out of the grip of deeply established patterns and to gain conscious control over our thoughts and movements, freeing ourselves from the slavery of often unconscious habits.
I’m very intrigued by what I’ve experienced thus far with the technique and believe it has great potential for helping me become a less tense, more efficient, and happier composer, guitarist, and person. If you’re interested in the Alexander Technique, I’d highly encourage you to look into it; there are plenty of easily accessible resources and most importantly qualified teachers thought the US; and, if you’re a student, I’d recommend starting now, before the semester starts creeping back up on us and time starts slipping away.
– Daniel Foley