Many singers around the world are familiar with the Alexander Technique and its application to musical performance. As far as training is concerned, major professional schools and intensive programs include the Alexander Technique in their curriculum. Among them are the Royal College of Music, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music, the Aspen Music Festival, and the San Francisco Opera Center. Christopher Hahn, Director of the San Francisco Opera Center, explains:
During the past six seasons, Frank Ottiwell has been introducing the Alexander Technique to singers in our training program. They need to keep physical openness to allow for the breathing mechanisms to be free, the resonating chambers to work fully and to prevent the usual tendency to tense. This learning experience is especially important for young singers.
Baritone Alan Titus agrees:
It’s a shame more singers don’t do it. It’s all process. It’s what you’re able to plug into and understand about yourself, and also how to pick up information and handle tension that creeps in while you’re performing. We’re fighting against gravity continually – gravity is pulling down. We’re always falling into ourselves, and the big secret – which is profound, because it affects our concept about everything – is the contrast of the tension, of pulling against gravity. You see that in the light and dark of painting, the loud and soft of music. We don’t have a language to describe this reality, but the reality is the ‘up’ you feel when you have this Alexander experience.
World-renowned opera singing teacher, Judith Natalucci, recommends Alexander Technique lessons to all her pupils:
Singers, beginner through professional, need to understand the Alexander Technique principle of the ‘the use of the self,’ which includes, most importantly, the prevention of habits that interfere with their potential in the singing world.
The more tired I got, the more I used the Alexander Technique, and the more I started getting rid of tension to keep up the schedule. I began to refine the way I was using myself, to be efficient with my energy, so when the Paris performance came up, no problem.