Alexander Technique has been taught at Eton for more than twenty years. Three Alexander teachers work one-to-one with students addressing individual needs. Usually the boys have lessons fortnightly for the five years they are at the school and Alexander work supports them through the huge changes and challenges they face over this time.
Music scholars have Alexander lessons specifically funded and integrated in to the timetable. Alexander work helps with musical performance and posture as well as with coping better with long rehearsals for example. Other students come for lessons for different reasons - GP referrals for pain or stress, to help with attention in lessons or even to get into character for a role in the school play.
There is generally a good understanding of the Alexander Technique at the school since many of the teachers have lessons or have had lessons in the past. In the future it is hoped that Alexander Technique will become even more integrated into the school, alongside other wellbeing initiatives, in order to support the staff and students.
There are currently three Alexander Technique teachers at Eton.
Alexander Technique lessons are offered to all the Music Scholars and Exhibitioners, many of whom take lessons for their full five years at the school.
Lessons are taught one-on-one. The Technique enhances their musical studies giving them a good understanding of how to take care of themselves, reducing unwanted tensions, dealing with performance anxiety and managing their practice time effectively. Boys from across the school (non musicians) often take lessons in the Alexander Technique too. This might be for postural issues, a referral from the GP, recommendation by a house master, parent or friend.
The emphasis is very much on providing the tools to enable the students to help themselves and giving them some quality time to reflect and understand themselves more fully. More recently the school introduced a wellness programme for the staff with some talks and follow up lessons provided in the Alexander Technique. These have been very well received.
“Alexander Technique is fun and really helpful” Boy aged 14
“It has made a big difference to my clarinet playing” Boy aged 15
“I love my Alexander lessons, they give me time to think and make me feel calm” Boy aged 17
“It offered me what I hoped and more!” Eton teacher
“ I feel so light - I shall glide down the street like a swan” Eton teacher