The multi-talented Elke Rudolph is from Hobart and her skills include physiotherapy, Alexander Technique and singing
How did you first come across Alexander Technique?
I had established a busy physiotherapy practice and was looking for more. I wasn’t sure whether to specialise in physio or do something else. I came across a “body worker” who had worked with many great teachers in the US and opened my eyes to other perspectives.
What were your first impressions of the Technique?
My impressions were that I was “coming home to my body and myself“.
Where and when did you train?
I trained with Bill Brenner in Sydney, graduating in 2000.
What sort of AT work do you do now?
I mostly work one-on-one with people who have long-term pain and weakness. Recently I am seeing more singers and musicians and ageing Baby Boomers who want to keep doing what they enjoy doing, for as long as possible.
I also take small weekly groups over a six-week period; for the general public, music students and occasionally for members of my choir.
As the opportunity arises, I take workshops to a larger audience, such as the Australian Voice Association conference, Hobart Conservatorium of Music, professional development for primary school music teachers, senior music students at the local Quaker school, and my choir.
Is there anything you find difficult about teaching the Technique?
After graduating as an AT teacher in 2000, I had to quickly find a way of making the two potentially contradictory perspectives of physio and the AT work together. For example, I might see a client in the morning as a physio and then in the evening as a participant of my AT class, potentially giving them opposing messages.
This continues to be an ongoing process of refinement, as I am exposed to new Alexander teachers, physio research and client issues.
In this process I have adapted and discarded some physio techniques as well as adapting my language around the Alexander Technique.
Choosing the most appropriate approach for a new client can sometimes be difficult, especially if the client comes with fixed expectations.
What do you love about the Technique?
I love that the AT can be applied to anything and encourages expansiveness, connectivity and creativity.
Currently I am developing a new collaboration between a voice consultant, a choir director and myself to offer a new workshop experience. We call it ‘Body Voice Song’ and run it over a weekend. The attendees have ranged from beginners who have never sung before to experienced choristers. A number of ‘lightbulb moments’ occur for most participants, as they learn that even subtle physical changes can have profound positive effects on their voice. We love working together and are learning something new from each other at each workshop.
I love that if a client walks into my practice and they are too anxious to take any new information in, AT has given me the skills to relax their nervous system so they are open/receptive to listen and to new experiences.
I love that through the AT, I have a refined choice of teaching use of muscle activation (intensity) from maximum to the point of awareness or intention and that the AT includes opposing directions and the whole body.
Any advice or tips for other teachers?
I have found that exploring the intersection of the AT with different professional perspectives/disciplines (not only physio) shines a light on the limitations of each, as well as enriching the way I can work with each.