This week I had the privilege of working at Bryanston International Summer School, run by the London Suzuki Group. It’s an annual residential music course for string players and pianists aged 3 to 18 years old.
The course is vibrant and ambitious, and has a large number of families attending from all over the world. The 2020 course was understandably rather different, with an online version taking place instead – the Virtual International Summer School, or VISS for short.
So, how do you teach the Alexander Technique online to young people of such diverse ages and backgrounds? My two watchwords from the start were simplicity and fun, with a good dose of self-deprecation thrown in.
I really enjoyed putting the programme together. Participants’ very first introduction to the subject was through an ‘Alexander Technique fable’ which I devised. This meant that within minutes, students as young as seven were able to talk about the Alexander Technique in a way that was immediately accessible and meaningful to them.
A violin-playing heroine, an adventure in the woods, an encounter with a monster and a mysterious character to the rescue… What’s not to like?
The Alexander Technique is so useful for young people in that it establishes the best possible mental and physical conditions for their playing and learning; that is, it’s a way for them to replace stress and tension with ease, poise and balance no matter what activity they’re engaged in.
It’s therefore part of my mission as a teacher to share the benefits of the Alexander Technique with as many young people as I can.
Despite the success of the online Bryanston course, everyone is looking forward very much to meeting in person again next year.