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Who Was Frederick Matthias Alexander?

F.M. Alexander

F.M. Alexander (1869-1955) was an Australian actor who began to experience chronic laryngitis whenever he performed. When his doctors could not help him, Alexander discovered a solution on his own. He had not been aware that excess tension in his neck and body were causing his problems, and began to find new ways to speak and move with greater ease.

His health improved to such an extent that his friends and several of the doctors he had consulted earlier persuaded him to teach others what he had learned. Over a career span of more than fifty years, he refined his method of instruction. After teaching for over 35 years, he began to train teachers of what has now become known as the Alexander Technique.

F. M. Alexander Resources:

Nicholas Brockbank, a British Alexander Technique teacher, has written an excellent article titled, What Did Alexander Discover - And Why is it Important?

Alexander Talk includes an MP3 conversation about F. M. Alexander and his discoveries.

Just about every description of the Alexander Technique has some biographical information about Frederick Matthias Alexander, or "FM" as he is often referred to in the Alexander community. The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique provides a nice short biography of Alexander, Origins and History of the Alexander Technique Another particularly useful source can be found at About the Alexander Technique, part of an excellent Australian site. The Teaching of F. Matthias Alexander provides an in-depth look at the man and his work by his neice, Marjory Barlow.

Click here to view a collection of photos and a video of F. M. Alexander.

If you would like to learn more about Alexander's life, four good books are:

To find out how to order these books go to The Alexander Technique Bookstore (USA and Canada) in Association with AMAZON.COM and AMAZON.CA or The Alexander Technique Bookshop (UK) in association with AMAZON.CO.UK.

  • FM - The Life of Frederick Matthias Alexander: Founder of the Alexander Technique by Michael Bloch

  • F. Matthias Alexander 1869-1955: A Biographical Outline by Walter Carrington

  • Up From Down Under by Rosslyn McLeod

  • Frederick Matthias Alexander - A Family History by Jackie Evans

 
Following Alexander's death in 1955, a number of teachers trained by him in the 1930s had a huge influence on Alexander Technique teaching. Several have websites devoted to their lives and their teaching:

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