College of Engineering
College of Education
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Musicians often experience overuse injuries due to the repetitive movements they must use to play an instrument, and poor or unbalanced posture can contribute to pain and the likelihood of injury. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of the Alexander Technique (AT), a method to improve postural imbalances. Using motion capture technology, violinist and violists were tracked by motion-capture cameras that recorded their movement as they played. The participants played a short etude, watched an instructional video on the AT, and then applied the AT while replaying the same etude. The angular displacements of the head, neck and shoulders, were measured to quantify changes in body posture. There was a statistically significant difference between the pre- and post-AT measurement of the mean distance between the reflective markers placed at the mandibular angle (M = 149.39 SD = 16.74) and acromion process (M = 154.16, SD = 18.88), (t = 4.36, p = .01). There was no statistically significant difference between the pre- and post-AT measurement of the mean distance between the reflective markers placed at the C3 spinous process (M = 117.96, SD = 17.08) and the occipital bone (M = 126.5, SD = 11.36), (t = 2.02, p = .30). However, the mean distance was larger in three of the four participants. The results of this preliminary, pilot study indicated that the AT produced a measurable change in the potential to reduce the amount of tension and influence the unconscious postural habits that violinists and violists experience.
"Measuring the Effects of the Alexander Technique on Posture and Tension in Student Violinists and Violists,"
Perpetua: The UAH Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 2:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://louis.uah.edu/perpetua/vol2/iss2/4