Alexander Technique Resources

Websites:


Books:

  • The Use of the Self, chapter one, “Evolution of a Technique,” by F.M. Alexander, is the most essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about the Alexander Technique. To start, I’d recommend a student read it once as an overview, then read it again and make an outline of the events they noticed. It’s worth reading over and over, as you’ll notice something new each time! If I had a more ongoing group class, I’d consider doing a read-aloud series on this chapter to help students through it.
  • Freedom to Change: The Development and Science of the Alexander Technique, by Frank Pierce Jones, is clearly written and relevant to beginning AT students and teachers alike. It’s short enough to read in bits and pieces, but also detailed and deep. Jones provides a history of the Technique, describes his own studies of it, and describes the Technique from multiple angles. Jones trained with the Alexander brothers, remained in contact with them regularly, and conducted his own original research about the Technique.
  • Anatomy of Movement by Blandaine Calais-Germain has helpful illustrations. Since Alexander Technique students are often coming to class to learn to move better, it’s a relevant and helpful way to study anatomy. The book is accessible for anyone and focuses on functional anatomy, not just anatomy for its own sake.
  • Trail Guide to the Body, by Andrew Biel, is more detailed and has beautiful illustrations and practical exercises for identifying various muscles, tendons, and bones. It’s a large and long handbook that’s intended for bodywork practitioners, but it’s approachable if you use it to look up things you’re interested in rather than going through it cover to cover.
  • Integrative Alexander Technique for Performing Artists, by Cathy Madden, explains the principles of the Technique in a clear and applicable way. She provides a sequence of studied rehearsed plans for practicing the Alexander Technique constructive thought process, step by step. Of particular interest for performers: re-framing common but misguided instructions performers often get (“just relax!”, “pretend the audience isn’t there!”, etc) and valuable help for performing confidently. Madden includes many relevant stories from her decades of experience teaching.
  • What Every Musician Needs to Know about the Body, by Barbara Conoble, and What Every Violinist Needs to Know about the Body, by Jennifer Johnson, have anatomy information and body mapping resources for musicians. Conoble’s book is more approachable while Johnson’s is more detailed and specific.