The-Phenomenon-of-Estonia.doc - The Phenomenon of Estonia...

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The Phenomenon of Estonia in the World of the Alexander Technique Thanks to Maret Mursa, Estonia’s only Alexander Technique (AT) teacher, Estonia has become the place where AT teachers from all over the world meet and work together free- of-charge. The birthday of F. M. Alexander, the founder of the Technique, has been celebrated in Tallinn for five years with complimentary lessons from the teachers gathered here / Section about the life of F. M. Alexander/ In Estonia the AT is taught at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Since 2000, AT is a compulsory subject for undergraduate drama students and they study it for two years. If they wish they can have AT lessons until the end of their studies. Lecturer Maret Mursa says that it a quite a sumptuous number of lessons. ‘For example at the Royal Music Academy in London, which employs ten AT teachers, there are a maximum of twenty lessons. The Royal Academy of Drama and Art has hired four teachers.‘ Kärt Tomingas is working towards her Master’s in Drama at the Theatre School of the Academy and takes AT lessons as an optional subject. She is quick to point out the practical benefits: ‘I now know how to relax my lower jaw. I did not know before that it was a problem. I got the answer to the question why my jaw would be seized by an attack of cramp. The AT is aimed at the body and the mind working together. When I drive I now try to monitor my shoulders and I try to walk without using muscles because we use too much force.Undergraduate students hold Maret in very high regard. I can see that the second year students are very keen to study the AT. Maret is also important for them as a psychologist. It seems, indeed, that thanks to Maret Estonia ranks very high in the world of the AT. She gets invited to leading centres of the Technique. People in Estonia perhaps have not yet learned to appreciate her highly enough.’ For students of music at the Estonian Academy of Music the AT is an optional subject. Similarly to the ergonomics of instrument positioning the AT teaches what the most economical position is for the instrument and helps to change poor body position that causes tension and injuries. ‘This year my anatomy teacher Jouko Heiskanen supported the birthday event. He is one of the best-known spine specialists in Finland and was awarded the title of the Best Teacher in 2005. Finnish physicians are the first in the world to start a project to train physiotherapists to specialize in helping musicians. The cause of this are statistics that show that every year more and more musicians undergo surgery because of joint problems. The ergonomics of instrument positioning is a compulsory subject at the Sibelius Academy / of Music – translator’s notice/. Prevention is easier than retraining later. Jouko Heiskanen is one of the authors of the project for training physiotherapists. We have excellent co-operation with him although he is not an AT teacher but a physician. On 20 January he held a workshop for AT teachers, telling about spine problems.
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  • Fall '15
  • Student
  • College or university school of music, Maret

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