Jacqueline Evans came to the AT from a career in music. She qualified at the Bristol Alexander School in 2006.
“I first came to the Alexander Technique 25 years into my career as a violinist and violin teacher, when I was trying to find a way of playing without pain. Little did I realise that that first lesson would be just the first step on a lifelong journey, which would affect far more than my music-making.
“Before I studied the Alexander Technique, my perception of how to be a good violinist – or indeed how to do anything well – had been to grit my teeth and try to solve the problem by sheer effort. I also suffered badly with stage fright. My solution was to practise harder still, with the result that I found myself in so much pain from the tension of trying to get it right, that I thought I would have to give up playing altogether. I hadn’t yet heard of Einstein’s definition of madness: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, but I was struck by Alexander’s words: “Be happy to be wrong!” If I didn’t mind being wrong, then I could experiment. The rediscovery of my curiosity liberated me where trying to get things right had held me back, and I found my sense of possibility and potential re-awakened.
“Using the tools the Technique gave me I found that freedom and flexibility of mind and body made me far more at home with myself than tension and rigidity. I love the analogy of the wolf spider – a creature which makes its web between two blades of grass so that it can bend and flow with the wind when it blows, instead of making it between rocks where it would be blown apart by the wind.
“Now I am passionate about teaching the Alexander Technique; as well as teaching at the School I have a thriving private practice with pupils aged from 12 to 91 – it’s never too late to learn! I teach people from all walks of life from GPs to gliders, from tree surgeons to dancers. Unsurprisingly I specialise in teaching musicians, and have seen many overcome their stage fright and pain. Another bonus has been that my other career as a freelance violinist continues – I am now able to manage my fear, and I’m experiencing once again the joy of performance.”