Alexander Technique
 
 
Since the focus of Alexander Technique is to inhibit poor use of the body and then to direct good use of the body in any endeavor, it is a practice that can be applied with great success to many harp methods.
When beginning AT lessons, the emphasis at first may not be on the harp.  As you take lessons and begin to explore connections between discoveries about your general use and your activities at the harp, it is useful to try implementing inhibition and direction techniques while playing very simple exercises.  This allows you to focus on the new concepts and processes of Alexander Technique more fully than might be possible while playing a challenging piece.  Suggested exercises for this, and areas of harp performance to consider when taking Alexander Technique lessons are given here:

Simple Exercises for Experimenting with Alexander Technique include:
    - any exercises from the Grossi Method
    - Little Fountain from Danses pour La Dauphine,
    - “strength training” exercises from Yolanda Kondanassis’s On Playing the  
       Harp 
    - “three-finger exercises” for the 7th lesson from Henriette Renié’s Complete                                               
      Method for the Harp

As your work with Alexander Technique progresses, there are several areas of harp playing which can be explored in greater detail.  Some of these areas are listed below, with one piece given as an example of repertoire requiring that consideration when pertinent.	

    - General position at the harp.
    
    - Possible excess tension in performance situations exhibiting itself 
    particularly in fast, scalar passages and sections with large amounts of cross-    
    fingerings.  
    Example:  André Caplet’s Divertissement a la française.
    
    - Playing in the extreme registers of the harp, particularly using the left hand     
    in the highest registers and the lowest registers.  
    Example:  Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto.

    - Need for independence of the lower legs and feet in pedal movements
     (not engaging unnecessary muscles of the thighs and back).  
    Example:  Gabriel Fauré’s Une Châtelaine En Sa Tour.  

    - End-gaining as a practice habit where healthy use of the body is sacrificed 
    for immediate results, particularly common in “cramming” for performance         
    deadlines but also exceedingly common in developing the capacity for large 
    volumes on the instrument.

    - Pedagogical issues including identifying true sources of technical problems 
    and choosing words that encourage good use rather than bad use.

Like harp teachers, Alexander Technique instructors have completed lengthy formal training and have garnered much practical experience.  To find a certified AT teacher, visit the website for the American Society for the Alexander Technique:
www.amsatonline.org

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Alexander Technique is a beneficial tool for practice, performance, and teaching.  Like any tool, it must be developed over time and will be useful only to the extent that it has been developed by the individual harpist. Linda-Rose Hembreiker copyright 2018