Links and Bibliography

 

Singing Links

Cursa-Ur, Ron Murdocks Site Highly accomplished singer, singing teacher and AT teacher. Excellent articles on voice function, care of the voice etc. One of the few teachers really qualified to carry on the original tradition of the AT as profoundly concerned with breath and voice. If you're a singer, go to him! Get his book, recently published: "Born to Sing.
http://www.cursa-ur.com

There are many sites that deal with the anatomy of the vocal apparatus. Most of these are medical sites, but beware, that's no guarantee the information is accurate either in the descriptions or in the illustrations. Lungs and especially diaphragm are often drawn completely wrong. A really bad one is to be found at East Kentucky University's site for degrees in biology, where the outline of the diaphragm descends way into the viscera and seems to attach itself roughly to the navel or even lower (scroll down to 3rd diagram). In fact the number of anatomical sins committed on this page has to be seen to be believed.
http://www.biology.eku.edu/RITCHISO/301notes6.htm

A good example of lungs drawn wrongly is at:
http://fulton.edzone.net/cites/winkler-science/team2/chap14.html where the apex of the lung is shown at armpit height. No wonder people are surprised to be told that the apex is actually higher than the collar bones (yes, really). (This link is no longer available).

These images can be multiplied ad infinitum if one has the patience to search.

 

Singing, Anatomy and General Books

From the vast store of books on singing and singing technique I'm suggesting only two. I started compiling a much longer list, but felt I was going to rival Amazon if I wasn't careful.

Singing: The Physical Nature of the Vocal Organ by Professor Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling. Perhaps the most balanced account of the singing process in print, (but now we have Ron Murdock's book, see above) and a refreshing understanding of mind-body unity in the vocal act. Out of print, but you can get a copy by contactingwww.singing-lessons.com, or by writing to T. Rodd, 3 Briar Walk, London SW15 6UD, England. £20 (including audio cassette and postage).

Vocal Wisdom by Giovanni Battista Lamperti. Available from Amazon. This gem of a little book is worth a hundred technical treatises. Many of these maxims could be Alexander statements. One breathes the entirely different approach of the epoch, simpler, more profound and more integrated than the modern tendencies.

The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. The classic book originally published in 1972 that describes the mind-body relationship of good performance. Very down to earth and easy to read. Highly illuminating for Alexander and singing student alike. New edition, '97, available from amazon.com.

Anatomy
If you're interested in the physical nature of the singing body then you could get a good anatomical atlas (I like Grant's - drawn - or Schattauer - photos, but there are many fine ones). Photographic atlases offer proof-positive of the anatomical facts, but are much more difficult to interpret. Or get hold of Blandine Calais-Germain's excellent book Anatomy of Movement (original in French) from Amazon. David Gorman's The Body Moveable (http://www.learningmethods.com) is highly recommended. One quote from a review should suffice to encourage you: “For the student of motion, this volume is distinctly superior to all the traditional anatomy textbooks. The drawings and text are models of clarity for demonstrating the interrelationship of structure and function. This is a book for beginner or expert alike.”

But the most recent developments in understanding anatomy come from those who are now examining fascia and myofascial structures. Start with Anatomy Trains, now a whole world of information in video and book form: http://www.anatomytrains.com

Then include understanding of tensegrity, which is also dealt with by the Anatomy Trains people.

Then, if you dare, expand into the new energy medicine concepts that are revolutionising our perception of ourselves. A good introduction published in 2000, is:

Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis  by James L. Oschman

 

Alexander Technique Links

STAT : Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique
Address: 1st Floor, Linton House,
39-51 Highgate Road,
London NW5 1RS.
Tel: 0845 230 5435
Website: www.stat.org.uk

L'Association Française des Professeurs de la Technique Alexander
Everything you need to know about AT in France. Good articles and links.

Address : 42 Terrasse de l'Iris
La Défense 2
Courbevoie 92400.
Tel/Fax: 01 40 90 06 23
Website: http://www.techniquealexander.info/
E-mail: techniquealexander@yahoo.fr

ATI: Alexander Technique International
Excellent informative site, with many good articles on the Technique.
www.ati-net.com

ETAPP

Alexander Training School in Paris, run by Odyssée Gaveau, where I give a course on the voice.

http://ecole-alexander.fr/

Direction Journal
Journal on the Alexander Technique, widely distributed, with articles by AT teachers on many subjects. Check the website for online articles, back issues etc
www.directionjournal.com

The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique
As it says, the fullest online resource available for all AT needs. Check this site for the most comprehensive list of Teachers worldwide, from which you can find one in your area.
www.alexandertechnique.com

Cursa-Ur, Ron Murdock's site
Accomplished professional singer and AT teacher, Ron has wide experience and wisdom in teaching singers. Fine articles on how the voice works, vocal care etc. One of the few teachers still carrying on the original tradition of the Alexander Technique as deeply concerned with breath and voice. If you're a singer, go to him!
www.cursa-ur.com

Alexander Technique Centre, Belgiumwww.alexandertechniekcentrum.be/ATC/engels/ . The continuation of Elizabeth Langford's (my teacher) old training school. Read the articles, and buy her book Mind and Muscle (see below).

Athanase Vettas's site. Good introductory articles, and don't miss the 'Scientific Conference' button.
www.alexandertechnique.be

Learning Methods. David Gorman's development of AT principles into his own recipe. A mass of thought-provoking articles. Gorman's mammoth anatomical book is well worth the money.
www.learningmethods.com

 

Alexander Technique Books

Alexander's four books Man's Supreme Inheritance / Conscious, Constructive Control of the Individual / The Use of the Self / The Universal Constant in Living, are available through Centerline Press. STAT (see above) have a few books not available elsewhere. Check also Robert Rickover's page in the Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique: http://www.alexandertechnique.com/books/

F. M. The Life of Frederick Matthias Alexander by Michael Bloch. The most extensive biographical information on F. M. I have a little doubt about this book. There is a refreshing non-partisan analysis of Alexander’s character, foibles and obsessions, which redresses the balance admirably with respect to other versions that seek to minimise these aspects of the great man. But nowhere in the book does Bloch really take the trouble to give the counterbalance: a solid acknowledgement of Alexander’s extraordinary achievement as a whole, and of the profundity of his discoveries and their meaning for today’s society. Indeed, the first page of the Prologue is so woefully off course that I am surprised that Walter Carrington who wrote the preface, did not intervene. (But of course, that’s Carrington’s example to us all, of never interfering with another’s freedom to live life as they deem fit). The overall impression left by the book for non-Alexandrians, however, will be pretty unbalanced in my view. It is very doubtful that after reading it one would be inspired to give the Technique a try! Read it for an excellent account of the narrative of Alexander’s life.

Mouritz - Jean Fischer's quality publishing of Alexander books. Beautiful, copiously researched and annotated editions of The Universal Constant in Living and Man's Supreme Inheritance as well as a complete collection of Alexander's Articles and Letters. Also sells The Use of the Selfwith Wilfred Barlow's introduction. Pity Jean Fischer hasn't done this book yet and included John Dewey's original preface, an important document.
http://www.mouritz.co.uk

Freedom to Change (originally Body Awareness in Action) by Frank P. Jones. Available from STAT. The classic analysis and interpretation of the Technique by the first serious researcher into its mechanisms. Much biographical information, and an examination of the four books.

Mornum Time Press
Source for several valuable AT books. Walter Carrington's books: Thinking Aloud, The Act of Living and A Time to Remember are priceless documents, especially wise and limpid, although more for the advanced student or trainee teacher. Curiosity Recaptured a series of essays written by teachers, is also well worth having. These titles can also be found from Amazon.
http://www.mtpress.com

Explaining the Alexander Technique and Walter Carrington on the Alexander Technique ed. by Sean Carey - Sheildrake Press, 1987. Two more invaluable books, but once again better if you read them when you've got a good idea of the Technique in practice. Buy through ATI (www.ati-net.com/atibooks.php) or amazon.co.uk.

The Alexander Technique as I See it by Patrick Macdonald. A very valuable document from one of the pillars of the AT. Published by Rahula books in paperback 1989. Available from ATI (see above).

Body Learning by Michael Gelb. A very good first introduction to the Technique, with great photographic research. Publisher: Henry Holt, 1995. Available from Amazon.

Mind and Muscle: An Owner's Handbook by Elizabeth Langford. A must. A mine of vital and helpful information, beautifully organised, on how our bodies really work, and the relationship between mind, body and emotions. Extremely thorough but easy to read, she explains complex subject matter with great clarity. Useful practical experiments. Superb anatomical and other drawings by my wife, Enci Noro, painter and Alexander teacher. Available from Amazon, etc. and Mornum Time Press (see above).

 

The Master and his Emissary, The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist. A vital book for anyone. A masterly analysis of the two 'opposed' functions of the brain and the catastrophic dominance of the left brain in today's world. But much more than that, so read it.

 

 

Alexander Technique Videos

The ATI site (see above) has a full range of available videos. Some of my favourites are:

F. M. Alexander (video of 16mm film of Alexander w/ commentary) - Walter Carrington. The only visual record of the great man in action. An very amateur affair, and very short, but a crucial document none the less.

Walter Carrington on the Alexander Technique 3 hours

Walter Carrington 1985/6 Vol I and II

The Alexander Technique Today (Carrington, Scott, Walker, etc)

A Spring-Loaded Suspension System By Any Other Name… David Gorman

What Happens To The Work When Our Ideas Change? – David Gorman

Tensegrity and Biomechanics - Dr. Steven Levine

A Way of Being - Channel 4 Productions

Portrait of Marjorie Barstow

Marjorie Barstow in Australia

Patrick Macdonald on the Alexander Technique