Tag Archives: poise

Introductory Alexander Technique Day Course at Swinton Country Club and Spa

Sunday 18th March 2018

10 am -4 pm ( meet from 9.30 am)

To be held at

 Swinton Country Club and Spa

Masham Ripon North Yorkshire

HG4 4JH

Do you have neck pain, neck ache, or aches and pains sitting at a laptop? Are you stressed and worried about your posture?

Then come along to this workshop and learn the Alexander Technique to be more poised , improve your posture, de-stress, ease back ache as well as moving with less effort and tension. Relax and unwind in the beautiful surroundings of this very luxurious Country Club and Spa
Cost £65 including refreshments and a 2 course lunch

To book please contact the Reception

at Swinton Spa and Country Club

Tel. 01765 680900

For more information about the Course please contact Hilary
Tel. 01748 824160  Mob. 0794 1526662
Please bring a mat and a few paperback books and wear loose fitting clothing, preferably trousers or leggings. Part of the Course may be held outside weather permitting.
This Day Course is suitable for beginners and also as a refresher for students of the Alexander Technique

Residential Alexander Technique and Walking Course in the Lake District

Monday 28th May – Friday 1st June  2018

to be held at

The Glenthorne Guest House and Conference Centre Easedale Road Grasmere Cumbria LA22 9QH

www.glenthorne.org

Come along and join Hilary in the stunning scenery of the Lake District  to explore the Alexander Technique and Walking. The course starts at 5.30 pm on Monday 28th May and finishes at 1 pm on Friday 1st June.

We will look at our skeleton through anatomy and movement discovering a more accurate map of ourselves. In addition we will look at the principles of the Alexander Technique in a practical, fun and experiential way helping you improve your posture, de-stress, ease back ache as well as moving with less effort and tension. The course will run in the lovely  spacious Conference Centre as well as in the garden , weather permitting..

We will also apply the Alexander Technique when we go for gentle walks in the beautiful countryside around Grasmere.

There will be free time to enjoy the area and just relax and unwind. Glenthorne is just a few minute’s walk from Grasmere village.

This course is suitable for beginners and as a refresher for students of the Alexander Technique as well as Alexander teachers and trainees.

Bring a mat to lie on, a few thin paperback books, walking boots, waterproof jacket and trousers and a rucksack. If you have any walking poles bring them along too and learn how to use them using the Alexander Technique.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:-

All Alexander Technique sessions with Hilary Cook MSTAT a fully qualified, experienced, insured and CRB checked Alexander Teacher teacher

Four night’s accommodation in twin rooms with full board including tea and freshly made cakes. There is always a vegetarian option available and special dietary needs can usually be catered for but please advise at time of booking.

Most rooms are ensuite. There are a few non-ensuite rooms available at a discount of £5 per night.

12 places available

Cost £430

For further information  about the course please contact Hilary

teacher@hilarycookat.co.uk

tel.01748 824160

mob.07941526662

To book a place

please go to www.glenthorne.org

email info@glenthorne.org

tel.015394 35389

A £40 deposit is payable at the time of booking and the balance is due when you are on the course.

 

Midsummer Residential Alexander Technique and Walking Course in the North York Moors

Tuesday 17th July to Thursday 19th July 2018

to be held at

THE ORANGE TREE RELAXATION CENTRE 

www.theorangetree.com

in Rosedale, near Pickering at the heart of the

North Yorkshire Moors

Come along and join me in the stunning scenery of the North Yorkshire Moors to explore the Alexander Technique and Walking. We will meet between 4 pm -5 pm on 17th July 2018 and finish after lunch on 19th July 2018

We will look at our skeleton through anatomy and movement discovering a more accurate map of ourselves. In addition we will look at the principles of the Alexander Technique in a practical, fun and experiential way helping you improve your posture, de-stress, ease back ache as well as moving with less effort and tension. The course will run in the lovely new spacious studio in the chapel adjoining The Orange Tree and in the garden, weather permitting.

Lying in semi supine in the Studio

We will also apply the Alexander Technique when we go for gentle walks in the beautiful countryside. Bring your walking boots and if you have any walking poles bring them along too and learn how to use them using the Alexander Technique.

This course is suitable for beginners and as a refresher for students of the Alexander Technique as well as Alexander teachers and trainees.

There will be time to enjoy the sauna and hot tub and just relax and unwind.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:-

All Alexander Technique sessions with Hilary Cook MSTAT a fully qualified and experienced Alexander Teacher teacher

Two night’s  accommodation full board

All delicious home cooked vegetarian food including tea and cake on Wednesday. Special diets are catered for please order at time of booking stating your food intolerances and allergies

.

Use of sauna and hot tub so bring your costume.

COST £295 (based on 2 people sharing)

Payable by cheque or BACS transfer

tel.01748 824160  mob. 07941526662

teacher@hilarycookat.co.uk

A non-refundable/non transferable deposit of £100 is required to secure a place and the balance  is payable by 16th  May 2018.  No refunds will be given unless you find someone to fill your place.

 

 

Intermediate 6 Week Alexander Technique Course Starting 3rd October

This new exciting 6 week course will start  on TUESDAY 3rd OCTOBER (excluding half term 24th October)  2 pm -3.30 pm at SKEEBY VILLAGE HALL in Skeeby near Richmond only 2 miles from Scotch Corner.

How well do you look after your spine?

We will explore the Alexander Technique in a deeper way, looking at Living Anatomy and our skeleton. We will look at the Principles of the Technique and how to apply it in our daily lives whatever we are doing.

Suitable for people who have been on any of my courses, workshops  or had one to one lessons  or are already students of the Alexander Technique and are interested to learn more.

Cost £75

Please contact Hilary to book your place

Mob. 07941526662

Introductory Alexander Technique Day Course at The Garden Rooms at Tennants Leyburn 25th November

Enjoy a relaxing day learning and experiencing the Alexander Technique in the lovely surroundings of the Cloisters at The Garden Rooms at Tennants Leyburn North Yorkshire DL8 5SG

To be held on Saturday 25th November 10 am to 4 pm

Do you have back pain, neck ache, or aches and pains whilst using a laptop, ipad or mobile?  Are you stressed or worried about your posture?

Then come along to this practical and experiential course helping you improve your posture, ease backache, de-stress as well as sitting and moving with less effort and tension

Cost £65  including a buffet lunch

Please bring a mat and a few paperback books and wear loose fitting clothing, preferably trousers or leggings.

For further information or to book a place please contact Hilary.

Tel. 01748 824160

Mob. 0794 1526662

Email: teacher@hilarycookat.co.uk

Cancellation

If you cancel within 2 weeks of the course, a full refund less £10 administration fee will be made. No refund will be made for cancellations within 2 weeks of the course date.

If the course has to be cancelled by us, a full refund of any monies paid will be made. If there are insufficient numbers to run the course, the course may be cancelled 2 weeks prior to the course date.

 

Presentation to Bedale Cookies W.I.

I gave a presentation about the Alexander Technique to 20 members of Bedale Cookies W.I. on Wednesday 8th June.

They were intrigued when I started with 3 scenarios asking 2 members of the audience to participate.  Firstly one lady had to pretend to use a mobile phone and walk to a table and write down a message, secondly I sat playing my guitar and thirdly a lady stood and sat a couple of times.

What was the connection between these activities??

It is how you use your body, your use as F.M. Alexander called it. Alexander discovered that there is a connection between your head, neck and back and they have to be coordinated for your body to move in an easy effortless way.

The talk was very successful with people asking many questions and showing lots of interest in lessons and my Introductory Alexander Technique Day Workshop at Old Sleningford Farm North Stainley near Ripon on 31st July.

 

 

 

Fine tuning your musical body

Read about a professional violinists view of learning the Alexander Technique

Fine-tuning your musical body

– 9 January 2016

A violinist’s impression of the Alexander Technique and the artistic benefits of optimal playing health

 When I tell my musician colleagues I’m studying the Alexander technique, one of the first reactions I tend to get is, ‘I must sit up straight!’ It’s as if the posture police have entered the room so we mustn’t slouch. This is quite a feat to maintain throughout the tea break let alone a six-hour rehearsal day.

Most performing musicians are aware of the technique and many colleagues happily share their experiences of Alexander work and other disciplines such as yoga, mindfulness and Feldenkrais. These are the active professionals who cope with very busy performing schedules and gruelling touring hours. These are the ones who are successful and not thwarted by injuries, and have developed their own ways of managing themselves in what is a high-pressure career.

It seems sensible to make room in a performer’s life for some supportive work in terms of injury prevention and some of the strongest incentives for a player to change something are back pain, RSI, stress and nerves. However, the benefits of Alexander work for a musician can go far beyond a therapeutic level. Even more rewarding is to listen to the quality of the playing change, seeing how it can be transformed when we reconsider our body use and general playing health, much like an athlete would.

The ayes have it: Jane Gordon says yes to Alexander technique

The ayes have it: Jane Gordon says yes to Alexander technique

With the tools from the technique as a foundation, players can fine-tune their body for optimal playing health and find refreshing ways to be increasingly at one with their musical intention and musicality. Perhaps some have this quality at their instrument more naturally than others to begin with, but there’s no reason not to actively cultivate it.

Many of the artists I most admire have an amazing ease about their playing, with a commanding and genuine stage presence through which their musicality flows effortlessly. I use the word ‘ease’ in the sense that their body and instrument are at ease with one another, working together at the player’s total command. It is not easy but it is an effortless concentration. It takes a tremendous amount of effort not to work too hard. This is where the Alexander work can help.

The Alexander technique is first and foremost a thought process, from which evolves a body education. The essence of this process is to learn how to become aware of the body’s automatic and habitual reactions that could get in the way of performance. This awareness is developed by briefly stopping before action and catching ourselves before the automatic habit kicks in. This creates a space between stimulus and response. By stopping, we are not freezing or restricting any movement, but giving ourselves a brief moment to get in touch with our body and see how it is reacting in any given activity.

The stimulus for those reactions could be a difficult technical passage, exposed solo, bad acoustic or public speaking in a concert. Typical reactions we may want to inhibit are holding the breath before playing, tensing when shifting high or fixing the eyes too intensely on the music. Once any habits and tensions are identified, it’s up to us to choose whether or not to change them in the moment, and by changing them, allow a freer movement to take place. With skill and over time, this ‘stopping’ because instantaneous.

Working on body use, both with and without the instrument, can have striking results in a musician’s playing. Rather than spending hours doing repetitive exercises, technical studies, working hard to build tone production, there can be fascinating ways of approaching the instrument from the perspective of the body. For instance, rather than considering precisely how the bow hair pulls the sound from the violin in the moment of the bow stroke, one can look at how the arm and neck are working, especially in the moments before the bow even reaches the string. Instead of anticipating the bow stroke, create space to look at the body’s habitual reactions. Even just thinking of doing the bow stroke is a strong enough stimulus to which there could be interesting responses happening in the body. These could be habits of tension in the neck or arm which, once released, allow the hand to move more freely to the string and produce a more resonant and flowing sound.

Good group dynamic: Rautio Piano Trio ‒ violinist Jane Gordon, cellist Victoria Simonsen and pianist Jan Rautio

Good group dynamic: Rautio Piano Trio ‒ violinist Jane Gordon, cellist Victoria Simonsen and pianist Jan Rautio

It is fascinating to look closely at the body use of some of the greatest players. Rather than focus on exactly how they hold their bow or execute technical work, shifting, vibrato etc, take a look at the bigger picture and see how, for example, their back, neck and feet are working for them. A style of bow hold may work for one player but not for another, a type of chin rest or shoulder rest may only suit certain people, so instead consider the flow in the arm, the back and overall body use. Steven Isserlis, Julia Fischer and Isabelle Faust are some of my favourite string players. Each produces the most glorious resonating sound with incredible musicality. They flow with their instrument, their bow seems to be an extension of their arm, and their body use appears very natural and free.

Using the Alexander technique to identify and address any unwanted and ingrained habits and tensions not only promotes optimal playing health in the muscles and good overall body use but can liberate performers, allowing them to become more spontaneous and creative in the moment.

One of the unexpected delights with my own experience of the technique has been realising how working on my body has fundamentally changed my mindset to playing. After all, what happens in the body is a result of what happens in the mind. I have begun developing useful tools for concert days and am learning how to sense my body, just as sensitively as I have been trained to approach my violin and listen to the sounds I make.

During performances, I also try not to worry about demanding technical passages around the corner, for instance. I do this by neither visualising playing well nor imagining the perfect performance or how I want to affect the audience. None of these things a performer can control in any case, so I simply play and endeavour to stay in the moment. Letting go of perfectionism on stage and a sense of ‘trying too hard’ is ironically making my playing more immaculate. My sound is freer, nuances more effortless and body language more integral. As a chamber musician, I find this is a healthy foundation on which to build a good group dynamic. It is the core of how an ensemble works, and what an audience will respond to and enjoy.

It is a musician’s Holy Grail to be spontaneous and free on stage, allowing the strength of our own musical force effortlessly through. Along with countless players, I am finding the Alexander Technique to be a fascinating and highly effective way not just for working, but for thriving in our engaging musical world.

Jane Gordon is the violinist in the Rautio Piano Trio. She performs extensively as a chamber musician, soloist and concertmaster at major festivals and concert halls in Europe and beyond

http://www.classicalmusicmagazine.org/opinion/fine-tuning-your-musical-body/

Just stop and notice what you are doing as you read this article on your laptop or mobile

STOP AND NOTICE how you are using your laptop or mobile as you read this. We have habits which are out of our awareness.

If you are sitting  are you sitting in a slump ? Are you sitting on your sitting bones? Are your shoulders hunched forward? Are your feet wrapped around the chair ?

Sitting well using a mobile phone
Sitting well using a mobile phone

 

Sitting with good use with a laptop
Sitting with good use with a laptop

If you are standing is your weight equal through both of your feet? Are your knees locked back? Notice if your shoulders are hunched  and your neck is poked forward.

 

 

How is your head balancing on your spine?

Notice how your head is balancing on top of your spine imagine it’s like a ping pong ball just floating.

Look straight at a mirror then  put a finger in the hollow at the back of  each ear and slowly nod your head. Notice where the movement is happening, this is your head neck joint. If this joint is tight it will affect your overall use, the way you move. Imagine space in the joint and fill it with oil. Doing this regularly will help you get more awareness of the atlanto occipital joint (head neck joint).