Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) developed a tool for change with a clear objective in mind: He was searching for a way to overcome difficulties he faced when reciting in his theatre work. Through a determined self-examination he uncovered a number of powerful principles which enabled him to change for the better and realising their power, he made it his life's work to educate and help many people according to these principles.
Alexander's work is based on drawing on our inherent reasoning facilties in order to move in more useful ways. We can sometimes fall into patterns of movement where we hold excess tension in our bodies. Learning Alexander Technique teaches us how to free ourselves from unnecessary tensions. Fundamentally concerned with movement and the thinking which guides these movements, students learn to evolve their thinking to take advantage of simple physiological and bio-mechanical principles to move more efficiently and more effectively.
Alexander's work has proved very popular among actors, musicians, dancers and performers. It is taught in conservatoires around the world and famous proponants include William Hurt, Christopher Reeve, Kevin Kline, John Cleese, Mary Steenbergen, Robin Williams, Paul Newman, Maggie Smith, Jeremy Irons, John Houseman, Keanu Reeves, Sir Colin Davis, Paul McCartney, Sting, Joel Gray. However, it's worthwhile pointing out that this work is equally applicable to any activity which we wish to undertake outside the arena of performance. F.M. Alexander himself also worked with a number of eminent writers and philosophers including Nicolaas Tinbergen (1973 Nobel Prize Laureate in Medicine), Aldous Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, and John Dewey.
Visit www.alexandertechnique.com to learn more about Alexander's work.
Seán is currently teaching a weekly class in Dublin's DanceHouse to finish off the busy year of 2019.
Seán has taught at The Model Arts Centre, Sligo; Cork School of Music (CIT); Kungliga Musikhögskolan/ Royal College of Music in Stockholm as well as with Irish theatre companies such as Willfredd and Macnas and workshop series at DanceHouse Dublin.
Because of its versatility and principle-based nature, the Alexander Technique can suit you and your lifestyle. The technique becomes a process of on-going changes in your manner of thinking that supports and aids many mental and physical issues.
I first became interested in Alexander Technique through a curiosity in movement ranging from idly watching people passing by to marveling at professional dancers and athletes. From my own background as a performing musician, I sensed that understanding more about movement could improve my performance.
When I attended my first lessons little did I realise what a huge impact the Alexander Technique would make on not just my performance but throughout every aspect of my life. The improvements in clarity of thought, ease of movement and performance convinced me to undertake a four year training course in Bristol, UK in 2008. My teacher the late Don Weed was himself a student of Marjorie Barstow the very first graduate of F.M. Alexander's training course in 1934.
Since then, as a musician, I have enjoyed much more engaging performances and pain-free practice sessions. My performance work takes me all over the world and I've been privileged to work with many of today's leading musicians, as well as dancers, directors, writers and actors. As a teacher I have been lucky to work with people from all ages and backgrounds and am committed to bringing this life-enhancing work to more and more people interested in change.
During a lesson we discuss the principles which form the foundations for Alexander's work and present some of their practical applications. Following Alexander's approach, I emphasise personal development as it relates to general success in life by appealing to the student's power of reasoning and originality. The technique is based on interacting and exploring the students concepts of movement using dialogue and gentle hands-on work. There is no manipulative work comparable to chiropractic or osteopathy.
While the benefits of the Alexander Technique are often seen in terms of pain relief and health improvement, it is important not to consider this work as a healthcare substitute nor as allied to any complementary healthcare approaches. The Alexander Technique is an educational process, enabling the student to make informed choices about how to best use their body attaining a higher level of co-ordination and freedom which we are all capable of.
I got interested in the Alexander Technique as a way to learn how to use my body better and it was only the first lesson that I started to realise how much energy I use with counterproductive movement. Seán is an excellent teacher who really took the time to help me understand and become aware of my own movement and facilitate in helping me to make positive changes.
I began to find myself having a completely different outlook to how I approached certain things; physically, mentally and emotionally. This was hugely beneficial to me and Sean is a gracious and discerning teacher.
As a cellist I have had issues with my neck for years. After a session with Sean and a few discussions about poise and head movement I found my neck freer and much more relaxed. I haven't had any major problems since. Highly recommended, thank you Sean!
I was put in touch with Seán when a recurrent wrist injury began to seriously affect my ability to play the piano. Seán introduced me to a more wholistic way of thinking about the body, making me realise that so many of my perceived positions of comfort were in fact putting a strain on my body. I've found that his sessions have had an impact well beyond their own duration.
I had never heard about Alexander technique before I met Seán. After a couple of sessions I found out that there is a new way to think through these things and that The Alexander Technique is something beyond any other way of teaching ever experienced. Really quite something!
I discovered a brand new way of thinking: instead of having someone fixing me, I discovered that I could relearn how to do things in a way that was not putting as much strain on my body, and now two years later things have drastically improved. To go to Seán was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made, and he is such a nice teacher!
I felt like a dried tree that suddenly got a lot of fresh water when my body opened up and the blood could stream in my body. I was able to answer my own questions and could with my own words describe what was going on and immediately find a solution for myself. This was very helpful!
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