For the podcast called “I Used to Play Piano”, hosts Ioanna and Zara interview Jeremy Woolhouse to chat about Alexander Technique, piano technique, experiences with pain at the piano and solutions to technical problems.Read More
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: piano
If you experience pain when playing piano, your body is telling you that you are at risk of injuring yourself. Piano technique is not inherently painful. Even a mild discomfort is an indication that you can improve on piano technique; whether this may be the specific movement of fingers on the keys, the balance of the whole body to support your hands, or a combination of both.Read More
Piano instruction books often depict ‘the right posture for playing piano.’ They may illustrate a pianist with a straight back, feet on the floor, and forearms parallel to the floor. There are advantages and disadvantages to presenting images like this. If a student were to hold this position, the holding may become very limiting for piano technique, not to mention tiring! Through an investigation into positive poise, we can explore some principles of coordination for playing.Read More
When asked about school chairs, FM Alexander is quoted as saying “We need to educate our children, not our furniture.” The same can be said about the piano stool - it is far more profound and fundamental to learn to change one’s coordination than to learn where to put one’s stool. The former also informs the latter. We can look to Alexander Technique not for a prescribed position of piano stool, but for principles which can guide our decision making.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Musicians and computer users are at the top of the list for Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI).
Alexander Technique’s unique approaches make it a powerful tool in prevention and management of RSI symptoms. poise and action in accord with Alexander Technique principles promotes long term resolution of underlying causes of strain.
Alexander Technique trains the use of oneself, in any situation. To the aspiring pianist, it is an effective technique to improve how one uses oneself at the piano. It falls short, however, of training a technique of playing the piano. Five years of territory study and additional years of private instruction gave me some ideas of piano technique, but there remained a incongruity between the coordination I’d learned through Alexander Technique, and what I understood the demands of playing the instrument to be. I discovered the Taubman Technique to be the bridge to that gap.Read More
There is a reaction known as “fight or flight” which is triggered when we perceive danger. It is very appropriate when there is danger which needs an immediate fight or flight as a response. This happens very rarely in modern society, the response is usually triggered by an emotional threat for which fight or flight as a response is inappropriate. The resulting tension can create a massive limitation to performance and may guarantee a result which we were aiming to avoid.Read More
There is a wonderful book by Pedro DeAlcantara called Indirect Procedures. The title epitomises both the main challenge students have with Alexander Technique, and the profound solution it proposes. I present here an example of a problem, and the unexpected principles which lead to its resolutionRead More
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 activityRead More
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.Read More
Transcription of an address by Jeremy Woolhouse 11th October 2006 at Australian National Academy of Music, South Melbourne Town HallRead More
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.Read More
A statement of the value Alexander Technique brings to professional and personal life. By Jeremy WoolhouseRead More