freedom for life

The Edinburgh Alexander and Therapy Centre has been offering Alexander lessons and workshops since 1994.

A short biography of F.M. Alexander

F M AlexanderAn Australian born in 1869, F. M. Alexander was not a healthy child receiving private tuition rather than attending school. His tutor encouraged him to read Shakespeare which led to an interest in acting and reciting, a career that he was to pursue when he grew up. Alexander enjoyed early success as an actor - a success marred only by problems with his voice, problems which led increasingly to his voice failing him in performance and threatening his chosen career.

The doctors and specialists he consulted could find nothing organically wrong with his vocal mechanisms and mainlyadvised rest. By following this advice and witnessing its failure Alexander came to conclude that it was something he himself did with his voice that was the underlying cause of his problem. Since no one could tell him what he was doing, Alexander determined to find out by observing his own voice use in a set of mirrors. Alexander began to re-educate his own voice use and the results for himself were impressive enough for others to notice and ask for instruction. In beginning to give this, Alexander found his career changing from actor to teacher.

As Alexander developed his teaching, doctors became aware of it, had lessons themselves and then started to send patients, so that in time Alexander moved from mainly teaching those who were interested in voice production to those seeking help with their health. The eminent surgeon of the time, Dr. Stewart Mckay, recommended Alexander to leave Australia and take his technique to London which he did in 1904. There Alexander quickly established himself and published his first book “Man’s Supreme Inheritance”.

Alexander was to teach in London for the rest of his life with regular spells in America, including both world wars. As his practice grew he was joined in teaching, first by members of his family and then by assistants who were pupils and had become interested in his work. A second book, “Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual” was published in 1923 and this helped fuel the steadily rising demand for new teachers. This led Alexander to start a formal training course in 1930 which was to continue until his death in 1955.Alexander published his third and most successful book “The Use of the Self “in 1932 which tells the story of his discoveries, and then in 1943 came the last book “The Universal Constant in Living”.

As Alexander got older he maintained a full schedule of teaching and training until late in 1947, at the age of seventy-nine he had a stroke, with paralysis of his left side. His doctors saw little chance of recovery yet by March 1948 he was teaching again after using his technique to aid his recovery. His return to regular work was to last until his sudden death on October 10th 1955.