WHO WAS ALEXANDER?
Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) was born in Tasmania, Australia. As a young man he had a very successful career as a Shakespearean actor and Reciter.
However, he tended to suffer from hoarseness which affected his voice during performances, and to such an extent, that he could barely speak towards the end of his performances. He consulted many Doctors, who seemed unable to help, so he decided to take matters into his own hands, as he reasoned that it must be something he was doing to himself.
Over many years he painstakingly observed himself in mirrors and noticed that when he spoke he stiffened his neck muscles, pulled his head back, depressed his larynx and sucked in air. He further noticed that these actions were exaggerated when he recited.
Through this process of self-observation and experimentation Alexander discovered the importance of the head, neck and back relationship and found to his amazement, that if you change the way you use them, it was a key to improving the use of the self and the well-being of the mind and body.
Within a few years after making his discoveries he established a large and successful practice, with many actors, writers, politicians and people suffering from back pain and voice strain beating a path to his door. F.M. Alexander died at the age of 86.