The effectiveness of Alexander Technique on music performance and musicians’ health and well-being – a systematic review

Klein, Sabine D.; Bayard, Claudine; Wolf, Ursula (2013). The effectiveness of Alexander Technique on music performance and musicians’ health and well-being – a systematic review (Unpublished). In: Day of Clinical Research. 06.11.2013.

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Musicians often suffer injuries related to their music playing. Therefore, some use Alexander Technique (AT), a mental-physical method that facilitates to release unnecessary muscle tension and to re-educate non-beneficial movement patterns through enhanced kinaesthetic awareness. According to a recent review AT may be effective for chronic back pain [1]. This review aimed to evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of AT lessons on music performance and musicians’ health and well-being.

The following electronic databases were searched up to July 2012 for relevant literature: PUBMED, Google Scholar, CINAHL and EMBASE. The search criteria were "Alexander technique" AND "music*" [all fields]. References were searched, and experts and societies of AT or musicians' medicine contacted for further publications.

100 studies were identified. 24 studies were included for further analysis, 5 of which were randomised controlled trials (RCTs), 5 controlled but not randomised (CTs), 5 without control group, 2 mixed methods (RCT and case studies), and 7 surveys.
13 to 72 musicians participated per RCT. In 5 RCTs AT groups received between 12 and 20 one-to-one lessons. In 4 RCTs control groups received no interventions. Primary outcomes were performance anxiety, music performance, "use" as well as respiratory function and pain.
Performance anxiety decreased by AT in 3 of 4 RCTs and in 3 of 3 CTs. Music performance was improved by AT in 1 RCT, yet in 2 RCTs comparing neurofeedback (NF) to AT, only NF showed improvements.

Discussion and Conclusion
To investigate the effectiveness of AT in musicians a variety of study designs and outcome measures have been used. Evidence from RCTs suggests that AT may improve performance anxiety in musicians. Effects on music performance, body use and respiratory function yet remain inconsistent. Future trials with scientifically sound study designs are warranted to further and more reliably explore the potential of AT as a relatively low cost and low risk method in the interest of musicians.

[1] Woodman JP, Moore NR. Evidence for the effectiveness of Alexander Technique lessons in medical and health-related conditions: a systematic review. Int J Clin Pract 2012;66(1):98-112.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Medical Education > Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine (IKIM)

UniBE Contributor:

Klein, Sabine and Wolf, Ursula


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Sabine Klein

Date Deposited:

21 May 2014 09:58

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2015 14:36




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