Most students enter music conservatories with long-standing inappropriate habits in their manner of using themselves in activity. These habits hamper the smooth operation of postural support systems, which are fundamental to all skilled movements. By learning and applying the Alexander technique (AT) individuals are able to avoid unwanted reactions. Performance improves and activities are seemingly effortless.
Several studies have been carried out by masters and final year bachelor students of acoustics at the University of Salford, in which pianists were recorded playing scales before and after some from of intervention. The aim was to quantify the difference in musical skill before and after an AT lesson.
Students were asked to play four octave scales, hands separately ascending and descending, three times in succession to a metronome.
Initially the study looked at the time in-between notes, but later it was shown that the key focus was the velocity of touch (speed) rather than the timing that was significant. The results showed that after the AT lesson, the variability in the velocity reduced. They concluded that evenness of touch was significantly improved after the AT lesson.