The majority of adult Alexander pupils come for lessons because they have developed a problem of some sort. When this is the case, the Technique takes on a remedial role and becomes a form of re-education.
How much more sense it would make to have learnt the basics of the Technique when they were young enough for it to play a preventive role!
Alexander did in fact run a small, full-time school for children for several years, until the war led to its closure. Nowadays, quite a number of children have lessons, particularly children in most of the specialist music schools; but the Technique can of course be equally helpful for developing skills in sport and any other type of performance; and for some health problems. In Kingston-upon-Thames there is a small primary school (Educare Small School) whose whole approach to teaching the usual school curriculum is based on the basic principles of the Alexander Technique.
How can children benefit from Alexander lessons?
Most very young children quite naturally have what Alexander teachers call ‘good use’. This often becomes lost as they grow up – especially once at school, and when spending time with computer-related technology.
Sometimes children come for lessons for a particular problem: tension-related aches and pains; back pain caused by bad posture; unhelpful breathing patterns, and so on. However, children can have Alexander lessons just to check their posture, coordination and general ‘use’.
Lesson benefits include:
- Better posture and greater awareness of movement in activities of all kinds – including use of computers
- Ability to calm down and relax, leading to good concentration and energy levels
- Prevention of posture-related back and neck pain
- Support for practical skills such as handwriting, sports, playing an instrument, correct use of the voice
- Sensitivity (in a positive sense) towards oneself and to others
- Starting to take responsibility for one’s own life and health
How many lessons do children need?
With any age group, it is difficult to set a standard number of lessons as the norm. People with a health problem, and performers needing to develop a very high degree of coordination for their art or sport, may choose to have many more lessons than those who just want to be sure they approach life with good personal use, physically and mentally.
What is the best age for children to have Alexander lessons?
The six-lesson structured course is designed for children of seven or older.
Children younger than this can still benefit from the Technique, but their self-awareness is not sufficiently developed to understand it on a conscious level. Sometimes, small children benefit from gentle hands-on work from an Alexander teacher; sometimes all that is required is for their parent(s) to develop insight into providing an environment that encourages ‘good use’ and, ideally, having some Alexander lessons themselves.
Structured course for children and teenagers
Janet offers a six-lesson course (occasional follow-up lessons being recommended) specifically for individual children and teenagers, where the main aim of the course is for them to develop an understanding of their ability to direct themselves through life.
During this course all essential concepts of the Alexander Technique are presented in an imaginative form; the teacher’s intention is to entertain, to communicate, and to establish an early rapport. Individuals’ habits, interests, problems and patterns of use are all included in the learning process. Sensitive hands-on guidance is offered, as long as the young person is comfortable with it (most enjoy this ‘Alexander touch’ and respond to it very well).
Parents are always encouraged to come to the introductory session. Whenever time permits, it is recommended that parents experience the hands-on guidance for themselves during this first lesson. After the introduction parents are still welcome to attend, and with younger children it is important that they continue to do so.
Teenagers and some older children may prefer to come to lessons on their own, and this is fine – but lessons will be most effective when parents take an interest and give appropriate support.
Lesson format and fees for individual children
Single lesson: £20 for half hour or £30 for 45 minutes
Six Lesson Course (£129 in total):
First lesson (3/4 hour) with parent observing and participating: £30
Subsequent five half hour lessons, weekly if possible: £99
(These prices have a £15 discount per lesson on the standard lesson prices*)
Janet has experience in working with groups of children and can offer various workshops. They can be single or ongoing.
The focus can be general, looking at basic posture, movements and everyday activities; or more specific: writing, use of computers, voice and communication, or back care, for example.
Please contact Janet to discuss your needs and interests, and for a quotation.