Frederick Matthias Alexander was born in Wynyard, Tasmania in 1869.
His childhood was spent on a farm in the Table Cape area. He was educated in the public school in Wynyard. In this naturally beautiful environment, his life was a happy mix of rural occupations and local community activities.
In 1885 he moved to Waratah where he worked at the Mt Bischoff tin mine as a junior bookkeeper. His free time was spent participating local dramatic arts and music productions. In 1888 he was drawn to Melbourne, which by this time was a prosperous city steeped in the abundance derived rom the gold mining industry.
The cultural life of the city was flourishing. While holding down a varied of day jobs, Alexander spent time watching and developing a career in the dramatic arts.
In 1894 he returned to Tasmania to tour a recitation program. He went on the road often and as well as giving stage performances, he also offered the local populace tuition in voice
It was also during the 1890s that he started his research into the reason for his recurring bouts of hoarseness. By 1899 Alexander had worked out a process that prevented habits of poor use in vocal delivery, such as sniffing, gasping, pulling the head back and down, stiffening his legs and breathing shallowly. His discoveries were not confined to just breathing and maintaining good vocal use, but extended universally to most human actions: posture, coordination, movement patterns and behaviour. Indeed, he had formulated a technique that could clear away habits of body misuse and restore natural use and poise to the individual. In his case his recurring hoarseness ceased to be a problem and he found that his general health improved.
From 1900 to 1904 Alexander resided in Sydney where his ‘Natural Elocution’ classes and stage work continued until he moved to London.
England was Alexander’s home until his death in 1955. He wrote four books in his lifetime and passed on his technique through a training program started in 1930.
He led a full and rich life, wearing a number of hats: clerk, actor, teacher, tea-taster, punter, horse rider, husband and father.
One of his first assistant teachers, Walter Carrington, remarked that he would say to people who sought his services, ‘I think I can be of help to you’. This self-educational resource – Alexander’s technique – has since been of assistance and benefit to thousands of people throughout the world.
“You are not here to do exercises or to learn to do something right, but to get able to meet a stimulus that always puts you wrong and learn to deal with it”
“Change involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life.”
“You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.”
“When an investigation comes to be made, it will be found that every single thing we are doing in the work is exactly what is being done in Nature where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously.”