This ebook, An Alexander Technique Approach to Clarinet Technique, is published on this website in a PDF format. It is very detailed and practical, and it will give you the physical tools you need to take the limits off of your ability to create the accurate clarinet technique you want without sacrificing your body.
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Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. (MOVEMENT THERAPY)
At the gym where I work out, there is a middle aged man who does a lot of different exercises on the machines. I’ve seen him workout for at least a year, and I’ve given him the nickname the “Machine Slinger”.
It is very very painful to watch him workout or be near him when he works out. He moves the weights so fast, that he is just short of the weights bouncing apart and slamming into the machine.
Until today, I had never thought about what I was seeing him do out of the gym. Today I did. What I’m wondering, is what does he think he is doing, think he is gaining from this type of workout?
He isn’t unique. A whole lot of men, young to old, work out this way. (Rarely do you see a woman do so.) What is it that a man working out thinks he is getting from slinging the weights around. HE THINKS HE’S GETTING IN SHAPE! Why?
Because he is usually moving a fair amount of weight with 10 to 12 repetitions. So, he must be getting a good workout. HE AIN’T! Why?
First, on the surface level, he isn’t really lifting the weight once he gets motion. When he does 12 repetitions slinging the weight, most of what is happening is momentum. So, he’s not lifting the weight with his musculature and gets nearly zero gain out of lifting.
Second, the odds are he will injure himself. When he moves the weight this incredibly unconsciously, with poor posture and poor technique and excessive tension or low muscle tone, he will pull a muscle.
Third, there is simply no way he can lift this way with good technique and good posture. I asked the question earlier in this article, “What did the man think he was getting out of slinging the weights?”
HE CALLS IT A GOOD WORKOUT, AND BECAUSE HE’S DOING ALL THESE DIFFERENT EXERCISES WITH LOTS OF REPETITIONS, HE MUST BE GETTING A GREAT WORKOUT, SINCE HE DOES IT DAILY. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
He is doing the minimum. What do I mean? From the outside looking in, he appears to be a dedicated middle aged man getting a good workout. And he must be, since he does so many repetitions on so so many machines. No.
What he is actually doing is putting the health of his musculature and ligaments in jeopardy. HE IS DETERMINED MORE THAN ANYTHING TO GET HIS PROSCRIBED WORKOUT DONE, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER.
He is driven by completing his workout no matter what it does to his body. ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE CALLS THIS END-GAINING. This means getting the workout done, even if it is a near meaningless dangerous waste of his time. For him getting it done is more important than doing the workout with great posture, great technique, and meaningful repetitions that build strength and conditioning.
I generally don’t look at people with my Alexander Technique trained eyes, but sometimes it’s impossible.