What Performers Say About the Alexander Technique
Singers, dancers, actors and musicians study the Technique to reduce performance anxiety, lessen the likelihood of injury and enhance stage presence. By learning how to relieve tension in the neck and back, singers and actors experience fuller breathing and improved vocal quality. By learning how to hold themselves and the instrument with less tension, musicians experience playing with greater ease, resulting in improved sound quality. Dancers learn how to move with more freedom and less tension. Study of the Alexander Technique enables sharp focus, a highly refined sensory awareness, efficient use of energy, improved balance and coordination and an inner sense of calm.
The Alexander Technique is taught in conservatory and university programs around the world, including: The Juilliard School, Ohio State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, New England Conservatory of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, American Dance Festival, Yale School of Drama, San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. A list of schools nationwide in which AmSAT members are teaching the Alexander Technique can be found here.
Some renowned actors and musicians who have studied the Alexander Technique include: Julie Andrews, Annette Bening, John Cleese, William Hurt, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones, Patti Lupone, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Kelly McGillis, Paul Newman, Lynn Redgrave, Hilary Swank, Sting, Maggie Smith, Mary Steenburgen, Robin Williams, Joanne Woodward, Sir Colin Davis (conductor), James Galway (musician), Yehudi Menuhin (musician) and members of the New York Philharmonic.
I find The Alexander Technique very helpful in my work. Things happen without you trying. They get to be light and relaxed. You must get an Alexander teacher to show it to you. -John Cleese, actor
I love the Alexander Technique. It has corrected my posture, improved my health and changed my life. -Alec McCowen CBE, actor
The Alexander Technique has played an important and beneficial part in my life. -John Houseman, actor, producer and director
Alexander students rid themselves of bad postural habits and are helped to reach with their bodies and minds, an enviable degree of freedom of expression. -Michael Langham, Director, The Juilliard School, New York USA
The Alexander Technique has helped me to undo knots, unblock energy and deal with almost paralyzing stage fright -William Hurt, actor
The Alexander Technique can be sustaining; it is something that if learned well, can be carried along with you for the rest of your life. It gives you confidence to be who you are when you are up in front of an audience. -Patrick Maddams, managing director, Royal Academy of Music
The Technique's many benefits for actors include minimized tension, centeredness, vocal relaxation, and responsiveness, mind/body connection and about an inch and a half of additional height. -Kevin Kline, actor
The Alexander Technique makes a real difference to my often tense and busy life. Its thoughtful approach has made me calmer, improved my concentration and given me a clearer sense of my own well-being. I am grateful for it. -Joan Bakewell, TV presenter and journalist
"I was born with no natural aptitude. I wasn't pretty. I moved with no grace at all. I auditioned for the London Academy of Musical and Dramatic Arts but was not accepted. When I was finally admitted to Central School of Speech and Drama and showed up at my first movement class with my hump back and wearing a leotard, the movement teacher said, "Oh God." He sent me to the head of the school who then sent me to study the Alexander Technique with Dr. Wilfred Barlow. That whole semester I took Alexander lessons instead of attending movement classes which helped me enormously in my training and in subsequent years in my acting work. Now I can play people who are graceful and beautiful." -Lynn Redgrave, Actress
"Good acting is revealing yourself, not covering yourself up. If your body is free, your mind is free. [The Alexander Technique allows] you to feel what it's like to stay open physically, and also stay fully involved in whatever you're supposed to be doing." -Annette Bening, Actress