As part of the College of Music’s Summer Session, the CU Boulder Musicians’ Wellness Program (MWP) will sponsor the Alexander Technique Summer Course via Zoom, July 5-8, 9 a.m. to noon. An additional day, July 9, provides educators the option to receive graduate credit for the five-day course.*
While musicians’ wellness is always important, enthusiasm for the program—now in its 27th year—has grown at a time when many of us have gained a greater appreciation and awareness of self-care in various forms.
In particular, the Alexander Technique is a way of learning how to rid our bodies of harmful tension. As such, it’s not just for musicians. Explains MWP Director James Brody, “While musicians make up a good percentage of our enrollment, we serve a diverse audience. Everyone can benefit from this work—whether you’re an athlete or a teacher or you work in an office.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the summer course will be offered online for the second time in as many years. “When the university determined that group gatherings would not be allowed last summer, I considered canceling. But so many people contacted me, asking us to continue, that we crafted a viable online experience that we’re building on this year."
Indeed, the success of the 2020 program inspired Brody to expand its scope for the upcoming Summer Session. “I’m calling it ‘AT Plus,’” he says. “Over the past year or so, I’ve found that our needs in a variety of areas have shifted.
"For example, 18% of participants in a 2018 survey reported general anxiety; today, 60% of survey participants report anxiety. In response, we’ve enhanced basic Alexander Technique concepts with other supporting modalities.
"To that end, Matthew Tomatz, the College of Music’s embedded psychotherapist, will present daily touchpoints for tuning our mental health. Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk will guide us through a meditative process. And, as he has in past years, Ed Bilanchone will be leading us through movement via the lenses of T’ai Chi, Qigong and biotensegrity."
According to Brody, stalwart Amy Likar will further share her expertise in body mapping, ‘loving movement,’ music making and Alexander Technique principles. “We may add more presenters, based on availability,” concludes Brody. “Together, we’ll be moving, talking, sharing, exploring, observing and generally being kind to ourselves!"
How to Learn the Alexander Technique (Barbara Conable)
How You Stand, How You Move, How You Live (Missy Vineyard)
See Amy Likar’s video demonstrating Constructive Rest. While it’s addressed to flutists, Brody says the information holds true for all.
*The five-day course is for anyone interested in a deeper dive into the educational aspects of this work. Interactive presentations will be provided by course participants. In the past, this has proven to be a stimulating way to share insights into how AT principles can be shared in a variety of practical situations. Questions? Contact James Brody.