Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
This study was concerned with the use of the Alexander Technique principles in avoiding unwanted muscular tension and maintaining proper use of the body in double bass playing. Of particular importance was how the Alexander Technique could facilitate the fundamentals of double bass playing. The Alexander Technique is a hands-on method which aids the individual in achieving muscular coordination which is free and lively. Applying the principles of the Alexander Technique helps one achieve a harmonious psychophysical state, which results in greater ease, poise, and physical coordination in any activity, even the most demanding of virtuoso works for double bass. As a petite female bass player, I had cultivated much improper habitual muscular tension since the very beginning of my bass study. I had a very wrong idea about the use of body strength in relation to playing my bass. I decided to use narrative inquiry (autoethnography) to study the influence of Alexander Technique lessons on the physiological and psychological aspect of my double bass playing. Over the course of one year, I took Alexander Technique lessons and kept a journal, took pictures, and video-taped my lessons in order to collect data on my progress. In addition, I completed interviews with my Alexander Technique teacher and my double bass teacher to get their perspectives on my performance. I found that after three months my neck and shoulder strain has improved, after four months my upper back strain had improved, after six months the muscle tension in my right leg had improved, after nine months the pain on the left side of my lower back had improved, after 11 months the pain on the left side of my lower back had disappeared, and at the end of 12 months, there was less muscular interference with my breathing, allowing me to breathe more freely while playing. Both my Alexander Technique teacher and my double bass teacher noticed great improvement in my performance. This study demonstrates how the Alexander principles can help reduce physical limitations with or without the instrument, thus enabling the full emotional expression, freedom of movement, and relief from tensions while making music with more balanced coordination.
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Chou, Yun-Chieh, "When the mouse meets the elephant : a manual for string bass players with application of the philosophy and principles of the F. M. Alexander Technique" (2013). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 1689.