History of the Alexander Technique

F. M. Alexander
F.M. Alexander

The Alexander Technique was developed by Frederick Mathias Alexander who was born in Tasmania in 1869. Even though he was not robust as a small child and spent many hours with his books and horses, he was bright and inquisitive. By the time he was in his twenties he was living in Australia and earning his living by acting and reciting works such as Shakespeare.

When his voice started to fail him and he became hoarse when he performed the doctors and medics could not help him, so he thought that he must be the way he was talking that was the cause of his problem. He set up two mirrors and patiently watched himself speak. Gradually he began to understand that it was his unconscious habits of how he stood and talked that were causing him to lose his voice. He noticed that when he spoke he moved his head back and down on his spine and collapsed in his back. He gives a wonderful account of this development of the Technique in his book ‘The Use of the Self’.

When he returned to the stage special compliments were paid to his voice. He then began to notice others misuse themselves in a similar way, and not only those on stage, so he started to teach his Technique,

In 1904 Alexander came to England with letters of recommendation and became known as the breathing man due to his work with the breath. He never returned to the stage, but carried on teaching his Technique both here in England and in America until he died in 1955.


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