I’ve been writing this blog for about a half a year now, and, in the spirit of the holiday season, I’d like to express my gratitude for all the unexpected gifts that came with writing it.
My initial desire to start this blog came from a genuine rebirth of passion I was experiencing this past year as a musician. In particular, I was excited by the things I was discovering in both my technical approach to playing music, and in my artistic development and growth. All of these great discoveries were driven by deep exploration and application of the principles of the Alexander Technique.
And as I share these Alexander principles to help my students to learn to play music with greater ease, confidence, authentic expression and joy, I feel as if I’m involved in a continuous, ever growing exploration of the human condition as it pertains to creating art.
What I learn from my students, I apply to myself. What I learn from myself, I share with them. A circle of continuous growth, both teacher and student being blessed by the experience of the other.
F.M. Alexander (the founder of the Alexander Technique) referred to his work as being “psycho-physical”, in that what we think conditions our muscular responses, and in turn our responses condition our thinking. It isn’t just that the mind and body are connected. It is that the mind and body are an inseparable entity, something Alexander referred to as the “self”.
In the simplest sense, the Alexander Technique is the practical study of the use of the self. We begin by observing our thinking to notice the quality of how we’re carrying out an activity. Is it tense, fluid, easy, forced, balanced, awkward, rushed…? As we learn to redirect our thinking, the quality of what we do improves. Significantly.
By keeping this always in mind, I’m able to address many issues important to my improvement as a musician (and to my students, too!)
So with the desire to share what I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn) with serious musicians, I began writing articles. And of course, to help people find my articles, I’ve been learning various ways of reaching out: social media, visiting and sharing on other blogs, forums, podcasts, etc.
In reaching out, I seem to affirm over and over this simple truth: People who are passionate about what they do love to share their knowledge to help others. I am constantly inspired by some of the folks I’ve run into who tirelessly put information out there to make other people lives better.
Not long after I started writing this blog, I discovered a great group of saxophonists on Facebook. This group was founded by a fine saxophonist and very generous person by the name of Rocky Gordon, who is always vigilant in keeping the group growing and staying on topic. There are some very high profile musicians in this group, such as Tim Price, Mel Martin, Terry Landry, Dave Moody, Brandon Fields, and many others ,who are so generous and gracious about sharing they’re wisdom, experience, opinion and love of playing the saxophone. I’ve learned a great deal from many of these fine folks.
Again, the most inspiring thing is to witness how freely and tirelessly these great artists share their knowledge. It gives me a beautiful, optimistic feeling, like a model of how we all could live our lives all the time: helping each other, honoring and respecting our differences, giving passionately and unconditionally.
If you look at my blog roll, you’ll find some sites of others whose generosity of spirit, wisdom and experience have helped me to help myself and help my students. One person in particular I’ve developed a very nice relationship with from my blog roll is Doron Orenstein, who runs Best.Saxophone.Website.Ever.com.
Doron is deeply committed to providing highly useful, always interesting content about all aspects of playing the saxophone. He is a great writer, who is articulate, humorous, creative and downright cleaver. Recently I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of contributing to an upcoming ebook that he’s writing about playing the saxophone. I’m very much looking forward to its release.
I feel in debt to my other blog roll colleagues as well. In particular, Janet Horvath (author of Playing Less Hurt) is always an inspiration in how she’s constantly finding and sharing great information about keeping musicians healthy, and other many interesting and fun topics in music. Her energy, passion and commitment are like food for my soul.
If you’re at all interested in the Alexander Technique, I highly recommend that you visit Robert Rickover’s massive Alexander Technique Website. Robert is another person who works selflessly and tirelessly to share knowledge and information and to provide a network of communication and access to distribute it. I’m deeply grateful.
I’ve also had such great support, feedback and insight from my friends on Facebook and on Twitter. I feel like I’m finding an ever growing group of musicians that are open and ready for the kinds of ideas I’m sharing. It’s a great feeling to be heard and appreciated by these folks.
In the coming year, I’ll probably expand the blog a bit. I’ve had lots of requests for more video and photo images in my posts, so I’ll be working toward that. My aim is to help my fellow musicians. I’m indebted to those of you who have shared with me and allowed me to share. I wish you all a happy, prosperous, and growth-filled New Year!