Violin playing and the Alexander Technique
The Violinist — playing with Freedom
The violinist needs to be playing himself first and the violin second. Most musicians play the other way round. In learning a violin the focus of course is about the scales, reading music etc and getting the best performance. Yet, there is something missing. This can be seen in a class where the pupil is having a lesson in conjunction with and Alexander teacher.
Note the freedom and ease in Jennifer Claire Roig-Francoli, Violinist and Alexander Teacher, as she plays “Songs of the Infinte”
In the course of becoming a very good violinist, so often the effort put in (which is admirable to say the least) actually leads to pain. This becomes a vicious cycle of trying to dispel the pain, trying harder yet not gaining and then harder, until giving up seems a good option.
In FM Alexanders words, in order to live in the modern world we have to find a way to live appropriately and still enjoy what we are doing with ease, fluidity and enjoyment.
The most memorable concert I have watched was a group of young violinists The Soweto String Ensemble; youngsters ranging in age from nine to sixteen years old, their enjoyment was infectious. They not only played lightly and freely, but they also moved around the stage at the same time.
Working with an Alexander teacher while playing the violin, is giving the best option for light, easy freedom to both the music and the player. The fundamental change that occurs relates to the design of the neuromuscular system which when in conjunction with gravity, gives optimal results. The natural reflexes that combat gravity, when employed, account for optimal ease and poise. The head when well balanced on a freely poised neck is the basis for good function together with the co-ordinated back. This, Alexander considered the main and primary control when functioning well together.