What Students Say

 

Working with Bill is changing the way I practice, hear, think about and play music. Music is a listening art in which we involve our whole being. We're not just hearing musical sounds and responding, but learning to actively listen within and without of ourselves. To maximize our potential we must learn to play with a totally unified consciousness, like children who dance when they hear good music, without thought or a separation of the ego self, the music or the dance they embody.

As musicians we really need to be aware how we treat ourselves.  We can't shut off one part of our awareness without suffering consequences in our music, our health and quality of life.  My lessons with Bill have been a fascinating exploration of 'how I do music', focused on the essential kinesthetic awareness which his direct experience with Alexander Technique brings.  The practice of unifying our awareness, encompassing our mental, physical and spiritual selves is enhanced with Bill's breadth of  knowledge in music, anatomy, neuroscience, languages and philosophy.  He is a teacher who is open, committed to learning and always bringing something more to the moment.

As I learn with Bill, I am actually teaching myself how to play in a more liberated manner.  I can release misplaced physical tension and bring myself back from what I call futurizing (the emphasis of attention on 'results' over the present moment).  Each lesson I attend I find something I can learn to let go, and walk away freer, lighter and more confident in my life as a musician, composer, band leader and as a teacher as well. 
- Paul Livingstone, professional sitarist, composer, music educator

 

For the longest time, playing the violin was an arduous task. As I began to get more and more serious about my commitment to practicing, I began developing shoulder and back pain as my body tried to adjust to the additional time playing. Over the months, I had accepted the pain as a sort of sacrifice to playing the violin. The Alexander Technique with Bill Plake completely changed my view, as I discovered that I didn't need to be in pain to practice my instrument. By learning to relax my muscles and ease the tension that had built up over the months, practicing became enjoyable again, as the strain it had used to place on my body seemingly disappeared after a few lessons. Even today, I use the same techniques Bill taught me to improve my posture and balance of my body. The Alexander Technique was life changing for me, not only for my violin playing, but also, for my life.
- Nathan Lee, Concertmaster, Pasadena Youth Symphony Orchestra

 

I can't say enough about Bill Plake and the Alexander Technique: As an actress/singer, the Technique has given me a new sense of vocal freedom (without restraint) and personal connection to my craft. Bill is a mentor and a teacher of the highest caliber.
- Lorraine Kreuz

 

Being a piano tuner I frequently find myself in physical positions that our bodies were not meant to hold for any length of time. The entire musculature of a piano tuner is frequently used in leaning over, pulling and pushing in very unnatural ways. Even when we're doing it right. I am not alone in this profession to coming home full of built up aches and pains. Especially shoulder and lower back discomfort that could last for days. But all that has changed since I started Alexander Technique lessons with Bill Plake. The muscle strain, the aches and pains, etc., have not been entirely eliminated but they are certainly way less severe. Additionally, with the very short but daily Alexander Technique resting routine, I no longer go to bed feeling all bent up. I wake up refreshed, and ready to do it again. I love my work, and now that I have incorporated Alexander Technique training into my routine I know that I will be physically, and subsequently mentally, able to continue my profession for many more years to come while avoiding many common work related repetitive stress injuries. Quite honestly, Alexander Technique training is the best health related investment I have ever made in myself. I've never felt better and more comfortable in my body. Thanks, Bill!
- Geoff Sykes, RPT

 

Bill and the Alexander Technique made it possible for me to look at things from a new, and a different point of view. I would say that I began to understand why something works for me or why it doesn't work for me. I think both my playing and my teaching have become much more efficient.
- Günter Schelberger, professional woodwinds artist, conservatory teacher, Austria

 

In my 25+ years as a musician, I have run into very few teachers with Bill's ability to convey information in a crystal-clear and yet highly engaging manner. Having collaborated with Bill on a mixed media educational program as well as on my own music web site, I can tell you that Bill's work has garnered highly enthusiastic praise from my readers and listeners. As an incredible musical mind, Bill's approach to music is deep and holistic. Finally, Bill is one of the most sincere and generous people you'll ever come across. If you're looking for someone to help you get to that next level in your musical development, Bill Plake is, without a doubt, the man you want in your corner.
- Doron Orenstein, saxophonist and Webmaster, Best.Saxophone.Website.Ever

 

I came to Bill Plake while researching the Alexander Technique for my graduate music degree. I'm a percussionist and wanted to take lessons applying the Technique to the drumset specifically. (Bill made special arrangements for me to use a nearby practice space with a drumset for some of our lessons, which I greatly appreciated.) Bill is extremely well-versed in applying the Alexander Technique to playing music, and facilitated many questions from me during my research. The lessons helped me isolate habits and tendencies that interfered with my playing so that I am now able to direct my efforts in a more fruitful way.
- Kevin Brown, professional drummer/multi-percussionist, music educator

 

I cannot say enough about what the Alexander Technique has done for me and my well-being. Even after one lesson I learned how to listen to my body and stop my many hurtful habits of holding tension, especially in my neck and jaw. Now I hardly have any pain problems and when they do surface, I know exactly what I'm doing wrong and can remedy them immediately. I think the Alexander Technique is a must for every musician.
- Cathy Biagini, professional cellist

 

Bill has helped me feel so much better on a day-to-day basis. After a serious bout of bronchitis, I developed ongoing jaw and neck pain. No matter what I did, I couldn't seem to rid myself of this condition. Because I am a dancer and Pilates teacher, I have a very good sense of awareness about my body. So it was frustrating that I couldn't understand what I was doing to cause this pain.

With the Alexander Technique, Bill was able to show me how I was creating unnecessary and harmful tension as I moved. By using tactile and verbal cues, he was able to help me become aware of the unconscious habitual patterns I was bringing into my movements. I can now feel the moment I create this tension in myself, and I can stop it from happening.

As an exercise instructor, I’ve been trained to address muscle imbalance by increasing strength. Through the Alexander Technique I’ve learned that many times the answer to muscular imbalance is not to increase strength, but instead is to learn to release habitually overused muscles. Sometimes less is more.

The lessons are like a tune up for both body and mind. I have the same feeling of ease and lightness that I have after having a massage, with the added benefit of learning to move more easily. I leave the lessons feeling calm, peaceful and clear thinking. Bill’s deep sense of joy and his vast knowledge of the human body make the lessons fun.
- Olivia O’Hare, Professional dancer, Certified Pilates instructor

 

Bill has a seeking spirit and is very passionate about sharing the Alexander Technique. His fascination with the potential of human thought and movement allows him to inspire these concepts to life through experiential exercises with his students.
- Jennifer Huang, Professional Actor

 

I have learned so much from Bill at these fun and informative classes. The principles of the Alexander Technique make a lot of sense from a physical therapy perspective. The workshop sessions have improved my body awareness and ability to recognize and prevent habitual patterns that have been causing my back and knee pain. 

- Lori DeRome, Licensed Physical Therapist

 

Bill introduced me to the natural ease awaiting all of us in our bodies.
- Marsha Cifarelli, education specialist

 

Words cannot express my gratitude to Bill and the skills he has empowered me with to improve the quality of my life.
- Dr. Lane Ochi, DDS

 

For more information or questions, please contact me using this form.