BGSU among 'America’s Best Colleges' again

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Learning to use one’s body more naturally and efficiently, with less tension, is the aim of the Alexander Technique, a simple and effective method for improving body use used worldwide. At Bowling Green State University, a free workshop on the technique will be held Aug. 29 and 30, sponsored by the College of Musical Arts. Aimed primarily at singers, instrumentalists and actors, the workshop is open to the entire University and other invited guests.

“We are inviting all BGSU community members as well as people from nearby colleges and the Toledo School for the Arts,” said oboist Dr. Jacqueline Leclair, an assistant professor of music performance studies and one of the event’s organizers. “Anyone who does public speaking, playing in bands, singing, dancing, sports—all would take away great information from these sessions.”

Dr. James Brody, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, will be the visiting guest lecturer for the weekend. At Colorado, he teaches courses on oboe and rock music and directs the Alexander Technique Center. He also created the Wellness Program for Musicians there, devoted to music students. Certified Alexander instructors must have completed at least 1,600 hours of training over a minimum of three years of study in an approved teacher-training course.

On Aug. 29, Brody will open the workshop with an introductory lecture and master class from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 202B Bowen-Thompson Student Union. During the master class portion, he will coach a singer, an actor and a musician, one at a time, helping them to develop physical habits that optimize their performance of their craft.

Following lunch, he will present a two-and-a-half-hour master class at Bryan Recital Hall in Moore Musical Arts Center, again coaching participants individually in front of the audience.

Saturday participants may sign up for small group lessons with Brody from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30, at the college.

“Alexander Technique is extremely well-regarded. It is widely employed by singers, actors and musicians. But anyone can benefit from learning it,” Leclair said. As an educator, I understand how valuable it is for young musicians to learn good body use habits early. By so doing, they can avoid all kinds of problems in the long term such as repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and fatigue. Providing Alexander Technique instruction in college is tremendously valuable.”

The technique is based on three elements: body awareness, the ability to undo excess tension, and the use of thought rather than muscular resolve to engender more efficient movement. The teacher observes students’ movements and posture patterns, awakening the body’s ability to find its own inherent balance.

Developed as a method of vocal training in the 1890s by Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor and teacher, the technique was expanded to all disciplines and is now taught at the Juilliard School, the Eastman School of Music, the Royal College of Music in London and numerous music schools and professional orchestras. In Toledo, the technique is taught by Nancy Crego, whose students include children and adults.

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(Posted August 03, 2009 )