"The conservation of energy for human beings."
Marjorie Barstow on Alexander Technique
Alexander Technique teaches us how to move efficiently, using only the effort appropriate to the task. Instrumental or singing "technique", when all is said and done, is the movement we use to make sound. And that movement affects the quality of the sound we make and our endurance too. Most of us are prone to over-doing, over-muscling almost everything and using far more energy than we need to achieve a goal. When we learn how to ease up, we become lighter, we find things flow, our physical and mental stamina improves. All wonderfully practical benefits for a professional musician.
Alexander Technique demands and develops awareness. Not just of ourselves but of ourselves in the activity. We are awake to our own movement in what we are doing and we can expand that awareness to include the full context of playing or singing - all our senses (not just hearing), our fellow musicians, our audience, the immediate space and the world at large. There is no room here for concentrating, for shutting down our focus, narrowing our perception and in turn, our physiology. Rather we open up to the sensorial richness of our experience and our performance.
Inclusive awareness can also be one of the the most effective ways to deal with performance anxiety. Barbara Conable, the co founder of Body Mapping, says that "Fear only overwhelms if it is all that's in your awareness. Give it good company." Movement disciplines can help give you a balanced focus in performance.