Frederick Matthias Alexander

fmatThe Examined Life

Frederick Matthias Alexander (1869-1955), was an Australian actor and a brilliant thinker who developed this technique as a young man to address the vocal problems which were hampering his career in Shakespearean recitation.  When his doctors were unable to help with the recurring laryngitis, Alexander took matters into his own hands, and reasoned that he must be actively doing something while performing that was causing this trouble.  Years of careful examination of his own patterns of movement and reaction to stimulus led him to a means for releasing previously unconscious habits that were the source of his vocal difficulties.  The principles he discovered are fundamental to human effectiveness in movement and beneficial to all activities.

Frederick Mathias Alexander’s greatest contribution in his lifetime was not simply his elucidation of Primary Control as the central organizing principle for enhancing human performance, which is profound on its own merits.  He worked for years to figure out a system for changing habitual behavior; one which is as old as Zen and as new as Mindfulness. 


“Change is carrying out an activity against the habit of a lifetime.”                 
- F.M. Alexander