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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 Tag: technique

Is it OK to play piano with pain?

Jeremy Woolhouse

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.

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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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Positive posture at the piano

Jeremy Woolhouse

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.

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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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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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Alexander Technique and Taubman Piano Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

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.

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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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