Having had horn lessons with Renée has been a real “eye opener”. I have been playing and teaching the horn for many years now, and one adopts a feeling of “knowing it all”; but after I had my first couple of lessons with Renée, I realised I knew very little! I have only started playing the hand horn about a year ago- and Renée has opened my eyes and ears to approach playing the hand horn in a completely different way- setting emphases on natural breathing, posture, relaxation, and a musical frame of mind – not just getting the notes but playing the music from something “simple”, as a Gallay study.
I have now my own hand horn and try to take every opportunity to play it- to get back to the roots of horn playing. Renée has inspired me through her fabulous playing, her amazing knowledge of the “historical” horn and her knowledge of the Alexander Technique to find new avenues of playing- she is a constant source of inspiration for me in my lessons with her.
About 30 years ago, I got to know and appreciate the Alexander Technique. At that time I drove all the way to Berlin for lessons to learn more about it. I even managed to incorporate AT into my way of building the harpsichord. I was also able to convince my mother, that she herself trained as an AT teacher with Walter Tchaikovsky and worked enthusiastically wiht students until her old age. I got to know Renée in a very special way when I was able to persuade her to work with my mother, who had been suffering from dementia for many years. Renée has impressively described these encounters in a text, which she wrote for ATVD Info periodical No. 81, entitled “Living and dying with the Alexander Technique”. Why search in the distance when what you are looking for is so close..., - After a long time (with many difficult living conditions) without AT accompaniment, I asked whether Renée would teach me. The first hour with her made me shed so many burdens that I was able to experience myself completely renewed in the hours and days that followed. Like no other before, Renée managed to allow my body to remember and return to its original balanced structure!
After many years of treating massive back problems with classical healing methods, the effects dealing mainly with short-term symptom treatment, I came across Renée Allen and the Alexander Technique when I was looking for alternatives (including a planned surgical breast tissue reduction to alleviate strain). The completely different approach, in which I learn to independently guide my body to let go of tension in the entire musculoskeletal system with the help of affirmations, is astounding. Instead of muscle exercises, etc., the conscious and pleasantly relieving technique that produces a completely different body feeling, meaning a fundamentally different idea of the interaction between body and soul: to treat yourself caringly and benevolently. Invitation instead of command - a great gain in my quality of life and in my case, the chance to do without a breast operation. B.G.
„Renee succeeded to give me means which can effectively resolve my conflict with the use of my breath.
The difference is enourmous. I can move from laborious breathing efforts to allowing myself to be breathed. I can sense how the in and out breath help to support my posture. Again and again, I can find a balance within myself from which I can meet the music and leave self-criticism behind.
These things help me to allow the air to flow, instead of me trying to push it. In particular, the permanent experience of the inhalation reflex, which I knew existed but could not consistently reproduce when playing, has become an insatiable joy. "
Stefan F., Trombone player(Hessen)
Over the years, in the search to optimize ourselves and counterbalance restless times, one comes into contact with many different body- mind techniques. Whether at work or at play, we have internalized performance expectations and gotten to know the other side of the coin so that a crisis management becomes necessary. It is easy to fall into the trap of looking for the perfect solution, and in the Alexander technique, one finds oneself confronted with the concept that this kind of goal-orientated thinking is actually the problem. In this technique, our awareness is turned to our “faulty use” so that we can learn to recognize and dissolve it. To replace our “faulty use” with “good use” sounds simple at first, but because of the complex interaction of neurons, and the many faceted demands made on our body during movement, it quickly becomes clear that this is quite difficult, and only accessible to a very discriminating, intelligent, empathic and experienced teacher. It is very fortunate to have found such a person in Renée Allen. In that she is also a professional musician, she understands the problems a musician faces. After only 10 lessons, my amateur piano playing has gained ease and expression, even in difficult passages. Everyday movements seem lighter and effortless. Postural tensions, in my case in the neck, shoulder and arm region, don’t build up so easily. All in all, good reasons to stay on the path of the Alexander technique.
V.Klein, Neurologist (Bremen)
A second CD with first recordings of music for French horn and
piano from the Bremen A.E. Fischer collection is in preparation.
Of course played on historical instruments once again!
More information about this can be seen and heard at: