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50 Hortense St
Glen Iris, VIC, 3146
Australia

0490 126 293

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.

Filtering by Category: Learning

Flow, Distraction and Integration in Thought

Jeremy Woolhouse

To practise Alexander Technique is to use thought skilfully. There are some special Alexander Technique thoughts which we use to embrace a greater scope for ourselves, including intentions which give rise to ease and efficiency in work. As we recognise that the way we think affects our capacity for comfort and function, we may naturally begin to align all our thinking processes with the principles of Alexander Technique.

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A pianist in pain - a revolution through Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

A nineteen year old aspiring to become a professional pianist, got to the stage where he’d be writhing on the floor from back pain after playing for fifteen minutes.  Three Alexander Technique lessons gave sufficient perspective to manage the crippling back pain.  This is the story of how I came to Alexander Technique and the fundamental learning of my first three lessons.

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I’m finding that I’m wrong all the time

Jeremy Woolhouse

In early Alexander Technique lessons, students are sometime frustrated to suddenly realise they persistently use excess tension or scrunch themselves up in daily activities.  Upon hearing this, I offer my congratulations.  It is a significant step forward as it indicates the student has acquired  recognition, a positive step in making change.  To discover you are wrong is to have learnt something.  

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The core of Alexander Technique: Primary Control

Jeremy Woolhouse

In using Alexander Technique, one core principle is considered primary.  The process of coordinating the head-spine relationship is essential to all other motion.  The effective use of Alexander Technique pivots around how skilfully one can engage this coordination.

 

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Checking in

Jeremy Woolhouse

Inevitably, students of Alexander Technique become aware of previously unrecognised habitual tensions.  When interference with easeful movement or balance of tone is recognised, change for the better can be initiated.  It may be tempting to perceive practice of Alexander Technique as based on looking for excess tension, then removing it.  This potentially limiting view calls for an evaluation of process in using The Technique.

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Thinking Hard vs. Thinking Easy

Jeremy Woolhouse

For most of us, concentration is associated with tightening.  When we see someone working and tightening - especially in the face - we may perceive this as concentration.  It has been proposed that every thought leads to muscular action, but there is no prerequisite for this to manifest in a way which contradicts ease.

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Getting Perspective

Jeremy Woolhouse

“Get job done at any expense” is a modus operandi we’re probably all familiar with.  Persistence of this attitude, the cost to ourselves wears us down.  An upgrade to “Get job done without compromise to self” infinitely improves outcomes.  Staying true to the principles of Alexander Technique transcends even this, and proposes a third paradigm.

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Accumulation of small change

Jeremy Woolhouse

At the end of an Alexander Technique lesson, students may comment on a sense of lightness or ease and a mild bewilderment at how it came about.  There are few instantaneous dramatic changes in sessions.  The profound outcome comes about through an accumulation of small change.  Understanding this, gives an insight into how Alexander Technique achieves what it does, and how one can practice with efficiency.

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When does 'good enough' happen?

Jeremy Woolhouse

Looking to the root of stress, one common theme is that of not being good enough. Musicians might recognise this in the form of ‘not doing enough practice’.  Alexander Technique identifies the struggle which arises and introduces practices which dissolve the context for such judgement.

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The disappearing self

Jeremy Woolhouse

It is quite easy to become absorbed in a task and lose a sense of body.  After some time, the body may assert its neglect in stiffness or soreness.  In early stages, it seems Alexander Technique trains us to be aware of ourselves - body and mind - whilst we undertake any activity.  A deeper level exists where Alexander Technique becomes a force integrating technique, body, mind and artistry in action.

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Phases of Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

When studying Alexander Technique, each student will progress in an individual way.  There are, however, some common themes students may be able to relate to.  A consideration of progression can help to put into perspective one’s own experience and development.

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Making 'Positive Thinking' Positive

Jeremy Woolhouse

Alexander Technique cultivates skilful use of thought.  It undeniably trains positive thinking. It differs, however, from other practices commonly grouped under the ‘positive thinking’ umbrella.  Practicing Alexander Technique principles may help in assessing the value of other ‘positive thinking’ practices, and assist in making them constructive.

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How does Alexander Technique reduce chronic neck pain?

Jeremy Woolhouse

A recent clinical trial published in The Annals of Internal Medicine has produced results concluding that Alexander Technique is effective in reducing pain for those with chronic neck pain.  The report on the study doesn’t go into any depth on how exactly the process achieves these results.  This article is intended to demystify somewhat just how Alexander Technique sessions have produced such an impressive result in the study.

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Back to Basics - Again.

Jeremy Woolhouse

A large percentage of classical Alexander Technique lesson time is devoted to work on sitting, standing and moving between sitting and standing.  As one progresses, this preoccupation persists.  There are some more complex tasks that the experienced student may be able to work constructively with, but the teacher is likely to continue to work on sitting and standing.  This tenacity is based on profound principles.

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A Universal Principle of Learning and Training.

Jeremy Woolhouse

At the core of study in any modality and in any demographic, is a principle I call Progressive Complexity. It is the method by which we can start with any degree of incompetence and progressively acquire skill. This one principle is the foundation for my teaching practice in Alexander Technique, and in piano tuition. Whether it is realised by the pupil or not, an inability to engage the full potential of Progressive Complexity is what leads students to seek support of a teacher.

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