Voice Over Education Blog

July 2015

The Alexander Technique: Sound relaxed by being relaxed.


Have you heard of Frederick M. Alexander? No, he was never a guest on our TalkTime! series. He was an early 20th-century Shakesperean actor who temporarily lost his voice due to throat strain. Doctors advised him to rest, which he did, and it worked. But he also sought an ongoing alternative, devising a technique for releasing unnecessary tension through better awareness of one's physical self.

Alexander found a solution. It worked well for him, to the point that he wrote several books on the coordination of mind and muscle. His approach pays particular attention to carriage of the head, neck and back. These principles, and many other related tenets, comprise what came to be called The Alexander Technique.

Many voice performers find it very helpful in relaxing the voice, improving breath control, and understanding their own body language -- all things that help voice talent sound more professional.

Another way to describe it is as sort of a mix of meditation, orthopedics, yoga, Pilates and other disciplines, aimed at undoing the bad physical habits you acquired on the way to adulthood. (Yes, regardless of what your mother may have told you, it is possible to stand TOO straight!)

Is Alexander Technique for you?

Maybe. Maybe not. We’re not saying you should become a disciple of AT. And, too, there are other approaches that reach the same end. But it's good to know about any mental tool available for relaxing your body and voice. You might find that elements of Alexander's advice will be helpful to your work in the booth.

A small example

Considering that Alexander applied his technique to a wide range of physical endeavors, there is far too much for us to go into deeply here. Serious pursuit requires guidance from a proper coach.

But, with apologies to Alexander purists, here is a practical application you can try:

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