Optimizing Practice: Giving Consciousness Priority Over Repetition

Anybody who knows me as an Alexander Technique teacher knows that I’m not a big fan of what is commonly referred to as “muscle memory”. Besides the fact that the name itself is misleading and overly simple (it’s not so much your muscles “remembering”, as it is your brain changing how it communicates with your […]

Teaching and Learning Music: Being Mindful of Metaphors

Whenever I give a first Alexander Technique lesson to a musician, it is not uncommon that certain misconceptions about playing music come to light. It is ofttimes  an anatomic and/or physiologic misconception specific to the physical demands of playing the particular instrument. It can also be a misconception about the acoustical principles involved with the […]

Physical Efficiency in Playing Music: A Question of Economy

Many highly skilled and accomplished musicians have lots to say about efficiency in playing their particular instrument. Whether it is about what the hands/fingers should (or shouldn’t do), or the arms and legs, or how any particular part of the oral mechanism involved in playing functions optimally, there seems to be no shortage of opinions […]

Improving Technique: It’s More Than Simply Exercising Muscles

There is a common, often disconnecting, conception many musicians carry with them when they first seek my help as an Alexander Technique teacher: In essence, they believe that the very problem that brought them to me is of a purely physical nature. Put more precisely, an issue of muscle function. I call this a “disconnecting […]

My Main Objective When Practicing Something Difficult

Is there an ideal, universal, one-size-fits-all objective that musicians have when practicing something they perceive as being “difficult”? Well, certainly the most obvious objective is to become functionally proficient with the very thing that’s being practiced. But there are typically several other aims nested inside that main objective when practicing difficult music. How about you? […]