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Practice of Jeremy Woolhouse, pianist and Alexander Technique Teacher in Melbourne, Australia

Specialist in working with musicians, RSI, posture re-education, neck, back and chronic pain management. 

Articles on Alexander Technique in life - by Jeremy Woolhouse

Monthly blog articles by Jeremy Woolhouse.  Alexander Technique for daily life, music performance, specialised activities, pain relief and management.

The Lack of an App.

Jeremy Woolhouse

We look to technology for solutions for our discomforts.  There is a faith that many have - almost religious - that science can explain everything and a technological solution will ultimately be found.  In human discomfort, this is not ever going to be the case.  Whilst we can now do some remarkable interventions, one still needs to move in ways which don't create strain in order to maintain comfort.  This is skill most of us have to re-learn as an adult.

Devices will never alone become a solution to coordinative issues.  A device will always require an interface, some interaction with the subject.  A device may be perfect, but the human user is fallible!  How the subject responds to the interface is the critical thing.  This is something which cannot be done for us; a sustained change in ourselves can only be initiated by a conscious engagement in the process.

Any response to a device will be approached with the same conception and coordination which the subject habitually uses.  Some tools will make this more or less pronounced, but which device one uses is not significantly relevant.  If one learns to meet one situation with a new coordination, based on new conceptualisation, then one has experienced the change which will influence any situation.

We need not a new device, but a new way of using any device.

That is precisely the principle which FM Alexander discovered and evolved a technique to apply.

There exist already, devices intended to improve coordination.  Some of them have impressive results and would constitute excellent educational aids.  Biofeedback machines (devices which monitor aspects of biological function) are bound to play a large part in the next decade as wearable devices become more accessible and adaptable.  Whilst they hold potential to help people, their influence is limited and comes with some risks.

Awareness of one’s coordination is a difficult thing to cultivate.  Devices can help us with this.  The device FM Alexander used in developing his technique was a mirror.  He discovered that what he felt he was doing, and what he looked like he was doing was contradictory.  He utilised the mirror as feedback to develop a new way of coordinating.  He then had to learn to apply it without the mirror.

One must take this crucial step.  The feedback of devices will change nothing if one does not act on the information.  The device is limited because it can’t possibly make the change for you, or effectively instruct you in how to make a change.  When one attempts to do this on one’s own, we come across some risks.  There may be some knee jerk reaction to the new information, an over reaction, or an attempt to make a change directly.

When one follows the principles of Alexander Technique, these risks become less, and the limitations transcended.  The device itself becomes a small stepping stone to an improvement in the use of the self.  Knowing that stepping stone can be skipped removes one from a dependancy and inspires greater confidence.


Image composite copyright: artur84 at and Jeremy Woolhouse

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