In my previous newsletter, I talked about the Alexander Technique concept of use, and I included a video of Allyson Felix. Once again, she's a track athlete who won two gold medals in the recent Olympics. If you want to read that newsletter, you can go here
. I said that Allyson Felix is one of those rare individuals who has very good use.
In this newsletter, I'm including a video of someone else who has superb use. Her name is Melissa Venema, and she plays the trumpet. Even if you don't read any more of this brief newsletter, make sure you watch and listen to the video. It was made in 2008, when Melissa Venema was 14 years old. She's playing a piece called "Il Silenzio," with Andre Rieu and his orchestra. It's interesting to watch her as she's playing -- and of course her playing is also beautiful to listen to! Here's the video:
I want to briefly recap what I said in my last newsletter about use. When we were young, most of us used ourselves very well. That is, we had a wonderful natural alignment of our head, neck and spine. In addition, when we were running and playing, or involved in other activities, we didn't overdo: we had no excess muscle tension. But then, as we got older, our use began to suffer. Because of the stress of daily living, we began to build up areas of excess muscle tension. That tension began to throw off our alignment and put extra pressure on our nerves and joints. As a result, many of us end up in pain or have difficulty with activities.
And of course, that's where the Alexander Technique comes in. It helps us reduce our excess tension and rediscover that original, natural alignment we all had as children.
Once again, there are a few rare individuals whose use doesn't suffer as they grow up -- and Melissa Venema is one of them. I was inspired by her playing because she stays so quiet physically. To be specific, her arms and shoulders are quiet as she holds the trumpet and plays. And best of all, her head, neck and spine are beautifully aligned. I also love the way she pauses to calm herself before she begins to play. Although I have no reason to believe she's had Alexander lessons, pauses are a very important part of the Alexander Technique.
I hope all of you are well.