People often say that playing the violin or viola is inherently unnatural. Just the act of holding the instrument can be uncomfortable, and pain or sometimes injury seems inevitable.
In this workshop, Alexander Technique teacher and violinist Andrew McCann will introduce participants to the knowledge and skills they need to find better comfort at the violin and viola. Topics will include:
- finding skeletal support and mobility for playing
- understanding how posture and balance can enable ease and movement
- overcoming the force of habit
- noticing what they do, not only how things “feel”
- how to include your whole body when practicing
The workshop will begin with a brief talk about the Alexander Technique and violin playing, followed by activities for the entire group. In the second half of the workshop, Andrew will work one-on-one with participants to demonstrate how to apply these ideas and skills in individual cases.
Many players may find that developing better posture and movement habits will require changing their set up. We will briefly discuss the many options that exist for chin rests and shoulder rests, including customized chin rests. And we will practice some of the strategies that can help players choose a chin rest or shoulder rest that will work for them over the long run.
Andrew McCann is an Alexander Technique teacher and professional violinist in Chicago. He specializes in helping musicians overcome pain problems. Andrew has presented workshops and residencies on the Alexander Technique at Roosevelt University, Monmouth College, Wheaton College, the University of Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Richmond University, Florida State University, the Tainan National University of the Arts in Taiwan, and directed the Alexander Technique summer program at the Music in the Mountains Festival Conservatory in 2014 & 2015. He was assistant faculty on the ATTiC, the AmSAT-certified training course in Chicago, in 2013–2014.
As a violinist, he has performed with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, New Millennium Orchestra of Chicago, Matt Ulery, ensemble dal niente, Spektral Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Contempo, eighth blackbird, and the International Chamber Artists. He has appeared at the Ojai Festival of Music, in productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Writer’s Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Marriott Theater, Paramount Theater and Broadway in Chicago, and on stage with Marco Antonio Solis, Jay-Z, Mary J Blige, and on the Oprah Winfrey Show with Susan Boyle. He holds degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He certified to teach the Alexander Technique with Joan and Alexander Murray at the Urbana Center for the Alexander Technique in 2003.