Who was F.M. Alexander?
F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955) born in Tasmania, became a well- known actor and recitor of Shakespearian verses in his day. He began to develop chronic hoarseness and loss of voice that was threatening to jeopardize his career. By self-observation and experimentation he discovered that interference with the natural balance of the head, neck and back produced excess tension and compression in the throat area as well as in the rest of the body. This habitual misuse resulted in hoarseness and often loss of voice, as well as general poor physical co-ordination.
He developed a technique to solve his vocal problems and this so dramatically improved his own physical well-being that he was soon being asked to help others. He moved to London and from 1904 until his death in 1955 F. Matthias Alexander taught his technique through individual lessons to famous actors such as Henri Irving Beerbohm Tree and Lillie Langtree.
In addition many singers, writers (Aldous Huxley, Bernard Shaw), musicians (Sir Adrian Boult), statesmen (Ben Gurion and the Earl of Lytton, Viceroy of India) and the American educational philosopher John Dewey amongst others sought his help. He wrote four books, of which the “Use of the Self”(1932) is the most widely read. The titles of the other are: “Man’s Supreme Inheritance (1910), Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual (1923), and “The Universal Constant in Living (1943). He was actively teaching until his death in 1955 and rather reluctantly started his own training school in London which, luckily for posterity, still exists today.