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Who was Alexander?
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was a Shakespearean actor challenged by a recurring voice problem. Chronic hoarseness interrupted his burgeoning career and he frequently lost his voice while performing. Because doctors found nothing wrong with his vocal mechanism, he reasoned that the cause might be related to how he was using his voice. After years of rigorous self-observation and experimentation, he found what he was doing that was causing the problem and figured out how to speak without those habitual patterns of tension. He then no longer experienced vocal problems, regained a full, rich voice and returned to the stage. His posture and overall coordination improved and he no longer had the problems with breathing that he had experienced since childhood.
Alexander continued to develop his technique, exploring the relationship of habit, thought and perception to human movement and functioning. He taught his discoveries to other actors with such success that doctors began referring to him patients with various breathing and coordination problems. As word of his success spread, people came to study with him from various places around the world.
With more people interested in studying with him than he could teach, he developed a training program to enable people to teach it to others. Over 100 years later, there are now thousands of certified teachers across the world trained in programs closely based on his.
Alexander’s discoveries evolved into core principles, the basis of his practical educational method. Students of the Technique today are as varied as the disciplines that have been influenced by this work: education, medical rehabilitation, skill development, stress management, the performing arts and athletic skill enhancement.