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50 Hortense St
Glen Iris, VIC, 3146
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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 Tag: performance

Embodied Training for Instrumental Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

Instrumental technique may be considered as the interface between concept and sound.  Our technical prowess determines how effectively our ideas flow from imagination, through the instrument, to the listener.  The definitions we create of technique, guide our practice and teaching.  They may be a liberating or limiting factor.  We inevitably acquire a set of judgements around what is appropriate technique, and what is not.

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From pain to proficiency playing piano

Jeremy Woolhouse

Moving from pain management and prevention of injury, to confidence, technical and musical proficiency at the piano.

Of all the instruments, piano may appear to have a most straightforward ergonomic. The pianist doesn’t have to hold the instrument, control breathing, deal with major symmetry challenges or contort for fingering. In spite of this, the rate of pain reported by pianists is high. Wrist pain, hand or forearm tension, tendinitis, carpal tunnel, frozen shoulder and back pain are commonly experienced by pianists.

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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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Constructive thinking in performance

Jeremy Woolhouse

A fine balance is required in the performing arts.  Attention must be divided among essential specifics, and simultaneously be united towards coordinated performance.  Too much attention on one aspect is as disastrous as too little.  

When musicians perform, we consciously initiate certain aspects of coordination and action.  Many more processes are managed outside of our consciousness.  Some, we can learn to become aware of, and we may learn to directly modify these.

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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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Stop trying to be musical

Jeremy Woolhouse

In any educational process, there are inevitable ups and downs.  When progress stagnates, this is an indicator that some mode of thought is preventing further development.  One of the most confounding barriers to a musician is when an intention for musicality inadvertently creates conditions which limit performance.

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Removing interference

Jeremy Woolhouse

Alexander Technique is a process of removing interference.  Without interference, concept flows into action effortlessly.  Restrictions of physics still apply, so a conceived ideal may not be possible, but performance will be closest to intended, and most rewarding to the performer, when interference is minimised.

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​Consciousness and The Zone

Jeremy Woolhouse

In the sports and performing arts, there is what is known as Flow, or “being in The Zone”.  It is considered the ‘state of mind’ where one is wholly absorbed in performance and is associated with moments of peak output.  Although heralded as the ultimate state, performers often report being The Zone also leads to pain, or that pain interrupts Flow.  This article considers the apparent paradox of using consciousness to preserve Flow and eliminate the negative side affects.  It is relevant to anyone who associates being deeply engrossed in a task with stiffness or soreness.  

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Judgement: The Good, The Bad and The Objective.

Jeremy Woolhouse

From the small act of getting in and out of a chair, to the musician on the stage, there are numerous decisions to be made.  Discernment and Judgement are forces which use observations as a force which can elevate or destroy satisfaction in any act.  This article uses the example of pianistic performance, but aims to speak relevance to all activity

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Constructive thinking in performance: fundamental principles of peak performance of any skill.

Jeremy Woolhouse

A fine balance is required to manage any specialised skill.  Attention must be divided amongst essential specifics, and simultaneously be united towards coordinated performance.  Too much attention on one aspect is as disastrous as too little.  I consider three fundamental categories encompass all constructive attention. Thinking is most positively constructive to coordinated performance when balanced across the three areas.  Thoughts outside of their parameters interfere with successful engagement in skilled activity.

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An improvising pianist’s endorsement of Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

The Alexander Technique has become an indispensable aspect of my pianistic performance and practice.  It has complemented, informed and enhanced my musical education, and taken my development well beyond what conventional music education did.   

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