"Talk about man's individuality and character: it’s the way he uses himself".
Fredrick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955)
developed the technique in the 1890’s. He was an Australian actor who specialized in reading from Shakespeare when he developed problems with his voice which risked ending his career. He consulted doctors who could not diagnose any specific disease or cause of the hoarseness.
If there were not clear medical cause for his problem, Alexander reasoned that he might be doing something wrong when reciting.
Alexander went on developing his technique by observing himself for years using a set of mirrors. It was through observing that the influence on his voice was very much related to the way he was using his head neck back relationship.

What emerged from this experiment of many years was more than just a vocal technique. Alexander gradually realised that the functioning of the voice depended on the correct balance of tension in his entire neuromuscular system, from head to toe.

Alexander developed his technique to encourage and maintain this balance through conscious attention and control: a technique that has become applicable to a wide range of problems and aims. In short, this balance was extremely important for overall coordination and many other functions, such as breathing, posture, freedom of the joints in moving the whole body, using arms and hands for skilled activities, staying calm under pressure and maintaining good overall health.

"If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor man's cottages princes palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instruction: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of twenty to follow mine own teaching!"

-The merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare

"Change involves carrying out an activity against the habit of life".

"Trying is only emphasizing the thing we know already".

"When at first you don’t succeed, never try again – at least, not in the same way. Trying almost always involves excessive tension". (Patrick Macdonald).

"You get away from all your old preconceived ideas because you are getting away from your old habits".

"Don’t come to me unless, when I tell you that you are wrong, you make your mind to smile and be pleased".

"Sensory appreciation conditions conception – you can’t know a thing by an instrument that is wrong".

"It seems strange to me that although man thought it necessary in the course of his development to cultivate the potentialities of what he calls “mind” ,”soul” and “body”,
he has not so far seen the need for maintaining in satisfactory condition the functioning
of the sensory processes through which these potentialities manifest themselves".

"After some time the pupil can begin the inhibition of the wrong use of the primary control in all simple and other acts of life, for this is largely a process of remembering
which is entailed in “thinking in activity” – a new way of living".

"The stupidity of letting children go wrong is that once they go wrong their right is wrong: therefore, the more they try to be right, the more they go wrong."

"Don’t you see that if you get perfection today, you will be farther away from perfection than you ever been?"

"To know when we are wrong is all that we shall ever know in this world".

"You can’t do something you don’t know, if you keep on doing what you know".

"As soon as people come with the idea of unlearning instead of learning, you have them in the frame of mind you want".

"You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension.

"The term ‘psycho-physical’ is used…to indicate the impossibility of separating ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ operations in our conception of the working of the human organism. It is impossible for me to think of human manifestations as ‘physical’,‘mental’,’spiritual’, or in any separated form that might be named".

"We are forced in our teaching at every point to translate theories into concrete processes. If you do anything to affect the processes, you must do something that will affect the result of those processes".

"Doing in your case is so “overdoing” that you are practically paralysing the parts you want to work".

"When people are wrong, the thing that is right is bound to be wrong to them".

"All the darned fools in the world believe they are actually doing what they think they are doing".

"Everyone wants to be right, but no one stops to consider if their idea of right is right".

"There is no such thing as a right position, but there is such a thing as right direction".

"When an investigation comes to be made, it will be found that every single thing we are doing in the Work is exactly what is being done in nature where the conditions are right, the difference being that we are learning to do it consciously".

"It’s not getting in and out of chairs even under the best of conditions that is of any value: that is simple physical culture. It is what you have been doing in preparation that counts when it comes to making movements".

"Be careful of the printed matter : you may not read it as it is written down".