On 28 March 2022, the RAB Trust organised a day of Alexander Technique for the students at Newark School of Violin Making. This is the report of one of the participants, final-year student Merrit Biesenberger.
“Guess how heavy our head is? 4kg! And these 4kg want to be balanced on top of our neck, ideally!”
Seven of our students at Newark School of Violin Making were recently lucky to experience a whole day of Alexander Technique lessons with Jane Julier, a viol maker and Alexander Technique teacher.
With Jane also being an instrument maker we had a perfectly balanced day, with a general introduction to AT, group exercises on the use of our muscles and improving working postures at the bench. Jane also answered many individual questions on common problems such as bench height, looking down at the work or getting absorbed into the work.
Some of us experienced a new state of inner calm after receiving guidance at the bench. It is much more than just posture improvement. As I understand, Alexander Technique is more a mindset, a letting go. More an undoing than a doing.
What stayed after the workshop?
Of course we all fell back into our old habits the day after – they can’t be changed overnight – but this was to be expected. Still, I am now much more aware of the importance of posture. Jane kept on pointing out to us how easily we get absorbed and stimulated by the work; to the point where we completely forget about ourselves. One of the magic tricks she gave us is to stay conscious of the self, to keep the awareness also in the body without giving it all away to the piece of wood in our hands.
To be of long lasting benefit we would ideally need regular Alexander Technique sessions. A one-off session can only give a taste of the possibilities that open from a regular practice. But having tasted this freedom in my body I am personally very intrigued to continue learning more about this method!
We give a huge THANKS to the RAB Trust for making this possible!