The Alexander Technique has been well established in Exeter for decades, with teachers to be found at the University, schools and colleges, health clinics and societies for the performing arts. I myself had lessons here while studying for my degree.
Now, as a teacher myself, I have returned to this historic city to set up my own business in The Practice Rooms, Castle Street. With over thirty years experience, I bring to Exeter my own interpretation of The Alexander Technique for anyone who wants to learn this incredibly useful set of skills.
Pictured above: Castle Street, one of the rooms at The Practice Rooms, and me
The Practice Rooms are a comfortable, well-appointed set of spacious rooms, accessed from the street via a short flight of stairs. There is plenty of parking nearby at any of the City Centre carparks, Princesshay and Guildhall being the most convenient, and there are numerous cafes and other facilities nearby.
The Alexander Technique for Musicians in Exeter
The Alexander Technique has been used by all kinds of musicians for well over a century. I used to teach music scholars at several independent schools and have encountered many different instrumentalists with an array of postural challenges. I found the technique very beneficial myself in training and performing as a singer.
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The following is a list of just some of the people I can help:
'Forty years ago, after one of my concerts, Adrian Boult told me that if I continued to conduct like that I'd become a cripple, and that I must take lessons in the Alexander Technique. Today I am still having lessons - as with music, there is no end to the learning process. It affects not only the use of the body, but also one's views of oneself and one's behavior. For the aches and ills that come with the years, the Technique can work miracles..'
Sir Colin Davis
Managing Director, Royal Academy of Music
Many an athlete has used Alexander Technique lessons to improve their game, their speed, their aim or their stamina. The improvements are not guaranteed, but if someone is overly tense and habitually using their muscles inefficiently, that will affect them in action. Learning to optimise your underlying use will remove barriers to success.
I have helped golfers decrease their handicap, climbers improve their grade and all sorts of athletes feel more energised and comfortable. Personally, I have enjoyed applying the technique to various activities, in particular learning front crawl.
'I can definitely say without hesitation that I wouldn't have had the rowing success that I have had the luxury of experiencing in my short time on the water, without finding the AT and the great teachers that I have had the privilege to work with.'
Valerie Thompson Williams
Rowing Masters gold medallist
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Athletes
Olympic Gold Medalist
I have experience working with a huge selection of musculoskeletal problems, from RSI to migraines. Alexander Technique teachers are not usually medically trained and as such I will refer my pupils to a doctor or an osteopath if needs be; however, if a person has unidentified muscular contraction in a problem area, it’s well worth working to eliminate that contraction because it may be causing or contributing to the problem itself, as is often the case.
People claim that Alexander Technique lessons cure certain conditions, and evidence to support this has come from a number of clinical trials, such as the following two:
The Alexander Technique has been proven to cure lower back pain
'We already notice, with growing amazement, very striking improvements in such diverse things as high blood pressure, breathing, depth of sleep, overall cheerfulness and mental alertness, resilience against outside pressures, and in such a refined skill as playing a musical instrument.'
Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907-1988)
Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine 1974
(from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, half of which was devoted to talking about the AT and changes that he and his family experienced from lessons)
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Musculoskeletal problems
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The Alexander Technique is useful for each phase of becoming a parent: the weight and pressure of pregnancy, the challenges of childbirth and all the lifting that comes later. I have experience of working with pregnant mothers, and mothers and fathers of young children, and also the personal experience of being a mother.
If you'd like more information, I can recommend this book
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Pregnancy and Childbirth
Students can often find they are exhausted from the demands of studying and sitting exams at a high level. Add to that, perhaps, the demands of socialising and the pressures of trying to support themselves financially and the stress levels are potentially high.
Lessons in the Alexander Technique can genuinely increase energy levels and support almost any pursuit. I can personally recommend them, having benefited enormously myself as a student.
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Students
The Alexander Technique for Actors in Exeter
Most of the main colleges for the performing arts have Alexander Technique on the curriculum. Over the years I have had experience of teaching many actors. I recall attending a workshop once where an actor with AT training demonstrated the difference between projecting his voice as Richard III with and without free muscles. The effect was clearly noticeable.
Additionally, it was pointed out that in spite of playing an emotionally and physically twisted character night after night, the actor was able to portray this without causing harm to himself.
"[The Alexander Technique] is a way to transform stress to joy. It's my
way of keeping on track with work and truth and the world I’m in which is working with people and creating. It’s for anyone who wants to be in contact with their own body and the way we tense ourselves and relax ourselves. It’s another way of moving."
Juliette Binoche, Actor
'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, Actor
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The Alexander Technique for Horse Riders in Exeter
Horse riding goes hand-in-hand with The Alexander Technique and can be of great benefit to both the horse and the rider. Riders generally relate to lessons very easily, as riding a horse requires a similar understanding of muscular efficiency. I have a saddle stand which I can provide at TPR on request. This is not only useful for riders but also for anybody learning about supporting their weight through the seat, with the legs hanging freely. I have a lot of experience of teaching riders and ride myself, at beginner level.
For a written introduction to Riding with The Alexander Technique I can recommend this book.
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Businesses
Companies lose a huge amount of time and money due to employees suffering from musculoskeletal conditions. These conditions can range from simple fatigue and discomfort right through to back pain and RSI. Many world-leading businesses use The Alexander Technique for their employees.
Lessons can improve work-related performance or help reduce absenteeism, while talks and workshops can provide opportunities for team-building, health and safety requirements or straightforward entertainment.
I hold workshops for groups, I go to business premises to give one-to-one lessons and I am currently teaching at Packexe.
For a list of companies who have employed the services of an Alexander Technique teacher, please go here.
The Alexander Technique in Exeter for Children
I used to work in the music departments of Sherborne School and Sherborne School for Girls. In addition to teaching the music scholars, I helped young people with their exam nerves, self-esteem, body image, deportment and general well-being. I worked with a variety of medical problems, including scoliosis, slipped disk, sports injuries and dyspraxia.
I am currently DBS checked, and parents/guardians are welcome to accompany their children at The Practice Rooms, where the rooms have an assortment of comfortable chairs, tables and Wifi for their convenience.
I regularly give introductory talks on The Alexander Technique in Exeter, either at TPR, or at business premises, or venues hired by interest groups. I’ve also put a fair amount of information on my website. But for a complete written introductory guide I can recommend this book by one of my own teachers, Carolyn Nicholls.
I have, as you can see, a vast amount of experience teaching the Alexander Technique. I find it fascinating and challenging, as each individual is unique: when I meet a new client, to begin with I’m confronted with the basic human musculoskeletal system and a common pattern of misuse but the process of understanding the person and unravelling the problems is different every time.
I truly love my work!
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M: 07866 257033
Fb: Alexander Technique for All
Where To Find Me