Rationale of the Alexander Technique

Photographer Trever Brady http://www.freeimages.com

Photographer Trever Brady http://www.freeimages.com

Alexander’s doctors informed him that there were no significant physical problems with his vocal mechanisms. In light of this Alexander reasoned it must be how he was using his vocal mechanism that was causing the problems. As he observed himself speaking in a mirror he saw movements he was unaware he was doing and which felt “correct,” even though he could see they actually added strain to his throat. Alexander then realized that the sensory appreciation of his voice use was incorrect but he believed he could correct the issues. It was at this point in his observations that he discovered how the dynamic relationship of the head and neck influenced all his movement, a phenomena he later called Primary Control. Alexander then discovered that by employing Primary Control as the means to initiate and direct volitional movement, his sensory appreciation was significantly more accurate. As a result, the muscular use for speaking was much more consistent with the physical design of the vocal structures. Because the Primary Control process allowed him to engage in a conscious, reasoned plan for movement – which was not assessed by how he felt, but on whether he was able to carry through using his psycho-physical whole optimally – he accomplished his objective. By following a conscious plan for movement and observing the generated sensory data Alexander realized his movement was not directed by how he “thought” it should feel. This procedure eliminated the problem of resisting a new movement pattern because it feels “wrong.”  In essence he was using the same experimental process a child does to re-educate himself about how to move but consciously – he just applied Primary Control to an adult nervous system and understanding of the world. For Alexander the result was elimination of his vocal problems as well as breathing problems that had plagued him since his youth.