F.M.Alexander 1869-1955

"We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains."

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F. Matthias Alexander was an Australian actor and Shakespearian reciter who developed trouble with his voice and breathing while performing, such that he was worried he would have to abandon his profession. After consulting various experts without much success, he came to see that he was actually causing the problem himself, putting a lot of unnecessary tension into the way he was using himself - stiffening his neck and pulling back his head, interfering with his vocal and breathing mechanisms, and pulling himself down generally. This was happening not only on stage but in his everyday activities too, and so he went about trying to find a way to prevent these habits of misuse.

After a long period of investigation, Alexander developed a new way of directing himself in his activities, clearing up his vocal and breathing problems, and bringing about a great all-round improvement in his general health. He found he was able to help many people by teaching them the same ideas and principles he had discovered - in later years, such well known people as Aldous Huxley, John Dewey, and George Bernard-Shaw became enthusiastic supporters of his work.

Alexander moved to London in 1904 where his work quickly became recognised. He continued to develop and teach the technique there for the rest of his life, as well as visiting and introducing it in America. He wrote four books, and began a three year full-time training course for teachers in 1931. Nowadays there are many qualified teachers and training courses, and the technique is recognised worldwide.

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