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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: Challenges

Self-Awareness and Remembering to Remember

Jeremy Woolhouse

‘Whenever I use Alexander Technique, it helps. But I keep forgetting to use it! Sometimes I get to the end of a job and realise I didn’t think of it once.’

Even when we appreciate the benefits of Alexander Technique, remembering to engage with it can be a challenge. This is all the more difficult if we are unaware of ourselves in the moment in which we are moving or resting with poor quality.

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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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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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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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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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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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Sitting on the knife’s edge: the uncomfortable comfort.

Jeremy Woolhouse

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.

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Automation of Alexander Technique

Jeremy Woolhouse

All students of Alexander Technique arrive with an acknowledgement of scope for improvements in their life.  It may be a pain one has, or a recognition of falling short of potential which is the catalyst to study.  After a period of study, this initial motivation usually becomes fulfilled.  Students may feel content to discontinue lessons.  If the principles have been fully embodied, the student at this time is asking: “what now?

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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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Fix the problem or practice the solution.

Jeremy Woolhouse

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 resolution

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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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Alexander Technique: Past Tense.

Jeremy Woolhouse

This article attempts to de-stigmatise tension and present muscle contraction in a healthy framework.  Also challenge the virtues of relaxation as a remedy.  An article of interest to those faced with RSI symptoms, or anyone whose work puts them at risk of “overuse”.  For instance, anyone using a computer!

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