the History

The Origins of the Alexander Technique

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) developed the Alexander Technique  at the beginning of the twentieth century. He was a Shakespearean actor  touring in Australia and Tasmania. A chronically hoarse voice interrupted his  burgeoning career, and he lost his voice while performing. When numerous  doctors were unable to help him, Alexander decided to find a solution on his  own. He intuitively suspected that the crux of the problem resided in his  posture and body movement, particularly the positioning of his head and neck  areas. By devising a system of mirrors placed at various angles, he observed  himself as he stood and spoke. Beginning in 1890, Alexander devoted nine years to rigorous self-observation  and experimentation, examining and correcting how he used his body. He  made detailed self-observations, and noted postural positions that made him  lose his voice. He took corrective actions that created better balance in the  relationship of head to neck to spine. The postural and movement corrections  he made helped his voice return to normal and surprisingly improved many  other areas of his body. He ultimately solved his vocal problem, developed a  full, rich voice and discovered what he named the Primary Control.  After reeducating himself on how to use his body more effectively, he chose to  share his technique with others. Actors and singers who wanted to improve  their performances became interested in learning what Alexander knew. It was  not long before he began to formalize his process in what became known as  the Alexander Technique. The Technique consisted of a course of  individualized instruction known as Alexander Lessons. The design of these  lessons effectively organized the teaching and learning of the technique to suit  the needs and goals of each individual. By the early 1900s, Alexander Lessons were very fashionable. Alexander  moved from Australia to Western Europe, spreading the word about his  effective methods for correcting postural and vocal problems. Students  included actors, singers, teachers, musicians, and others who wanted to  improve the way they moved and used their bodies. Doctors referred their  injured patients. It was not long before Alexander's work spread throughout the  world. After World War II, the growth of Alexander’s work slowed. In the 1960s, a  resurgence of interest in this work led to the opening, in New York City, of the  American Center for the Alexander Technique. This was the first center in the  United States to offer training in this discipline. In recent years, his techniques  have been used at major educational institutions, including New York  University, the Julliard School, Boston University, the London Academy of  Music and Dramatic Art, and England's New College of Speech and Drama.  The American Society for the Alexander Technique (Am.S.A.T.) was founded In  1987, to maintain the high standards set by the original society, S.T.A.T in  London. Am.S.A.T. sets and oversees the qualifications for teaching training,  certification and membership in America. Am.S.A.T. teachers are trained in the  tradition established by F.M. Alexander and adhere to professional standards  that include 1,600 hours of training over three years at an approved training  program.
Alexander Technique
Phone : (750) 460-4477
with Joseph R. Lee