The Effect of Lessons in the Alexander Technique on Music Performance in High and Low Stress Situations
Psychology of Music, Vol. 23, No. 2, 129-141 (1995)
Valentine E, Fitzgerald D, Gorton T, Hudson J, Symonds
This study showed that music students who took 15 one-to-one Alexander Technique lessons had improved musical and technical quality of performance compared with control students who didn't have any lessons, when assessed in a classroom situation. The performance was assessed by independent experts. Less variation in heart rate and reduced anxiety were also seen in the students who had lessons. The students were also assessed in a live performance situation but here only the variation in heart rate was significantly lower in the students who had received Alexander lessons compared with the control students. The authors speculated that more than 15 lessons may be needed to see any significant effect on musicians when in high-stress, performance situations.
Twenty-five music students taking classes in performance wererandomly assigned either to an experimental group who receiveda course of 15 lessons in the Alexander technique, or to a control.
A variety of measures were taken on four occasions: in bothhigh and low stress situations before and after treatment.
Theexperimental group showed improvement relative to the controlon the following measures: overall music and technical qualityas judged by independent experts blind to subjects' conditionassignment, heart rate variance, self-rated anxiety and positive attitude to performance.
However, with the exception of heartrate variance, these effects were restricted to performancein the low stress class situations.
There were no significanteffects on height, peak flow or misuse as judged on the basisof videorecordings of behaviour by independent experts in theAlexander technique.