Sep 30

Develop Teacher Presence in Class

How to develop teacher presence and command attention in class.

Whatever their personal style, all teachers are performers and the classroom is their stage. But success can depend on the kind of show they put on.’

To read the rest of the article follow the link:

Using the principles of the Alexander Technique can not only help your vocal¬†prowess but also help you in ‘developing teacher presence’. Here’s an extract from the article:-

‘Anyone can learn these skills, according to Marc Almond, a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University who trains teachers in the art of creating presence. But not everybody gets the chance…

Some actors user the Alexander technique to relax – gently realigning the body, breathing from deep in the lungs and using the body economically. This can also be useful for teachers who struggle to relax.’

I can recommend ‘The Voice Book: For everyone who wants to make the most of their voice’ by Michael McCallion. He was the vocal coach and directed at RADA between 1968 and 1980 and counted amongst his students Alan Rickman, Imelda Staunton, Juliet Stevenson, Tom Wilkinson and Jonathan Pryce. It’s full of useful information and his vocal technique incorporates the Alexander principles.

For those who are more interested in the medical approach, read ‘Care of the Professional Voice’ by D. Garfield Davies and Anthony F. Jahn. It’s a ‘Management guide for Singers, Actors and Professional Voice Users’.

Garfield Davies has an impressive list of qualifications. I had the privilege of sitting in on some of his consultations while I was training to be an Alexander teacher in London. Garfield Davies thought that where there was no obvious medical pathology, the Alexander Technique could help with stage fright, coping with stress and the kind of posture that interferes with good vocal use in acting and singing, etc.

Here’s an extract from his book:-

‘GENERAL MUSCLE TONE.¬† The degree of muscular activity in parts of the body not directly involved in respiratory movements is also important. Tension in any muscle group heightens the tension in all other groups, leading to tightness, strain and less effective voice production. Tension in the neck, lower back or even the limbs heightens the tone in muscles directly involved in singing, increasing the effort and decreasing efficiency. Part of the singer’s art is to develop conscious control of postures and movements which are normally reflexive, and exert that control in isolating muscles which must contract, muscles which must relax, and muscles which must be in a state of effortless tone.

Technique such as Alexander and Feldenkrais are helpful in developing conscious awareness on posture and movement.’

Sound like a tall order, doesn’t it? However, as I found out myself, practising the Alexander Technique results in a co-ordinated whole which seems effortless. And that’s why I decided to train as a teacher, as it made more difference than the singing lessons.

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