Maaike Aarts studied full-time for three years at the Alexander Technique Centre Amsterdam (directors: Paul Versteeg and Tessa Marwick), graduating in December 2002. She is a certified teacher registered with STAT (the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique) and is a member of the Dutch Society of Alexander Technique Teachers (NeVLAT).

RCO at the BBC proms 2005

Maaike specialised working with musicians in her Alexander Technique practice in Amsterdam. She also teaches at the teacher training institute the Alexander Technique Centre Amsterdam, the Academy of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and previously gave Alexander Technique lessons at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. From 2004 to 2010 Maaike was a first violinist in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. She resigned from her position in the RCO in order to obtain a better balance between her activities as a violinist and an Alexander Technique teacher. Currently she is associate concertmaster of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra next to Gordan Nikolic as artistic leader/concertmaster. Maaike plays Memo» by Michel van der Aa (violin solo)

My story: The blind spot.

When I was nine years old I began to play the violin. I listened to Isabelle van Keulen playing from my seat in the very first row and decided on the spot that I wanted to become a violinist. I always enjoyed playing the violin and never needed any encouragement from my parents. If anything, they would say ‘Stop practising for a bit, come down and play a game for a change!’

Maaike 12 years old 1988

I went to the conservatoire at the same time as beginning high school, so it was hard work. I often took the train to Utrecht for violin lessons after school, doing my homework in the train and bus. I started participating in competitions and also won prizes. I felt more and more pressure to perform well and I had the feeling that I needed to work extremely hard in order to meet all the high expectations. That way, whatever happened, at least I had done my very best! My playing did continue to improve, but at the same time I felt increasingly inhibited from a musical point of view. My nervousness and fear of making mistakes grew. After my final exams I enrolled in the conservatoire and then the problems started. I began suffering from injuries: on three occasions an inflammation of the tendons in my left wrist and also a case of tennis elbow in my right arm. In addition, I suffered from repeated attacks of the flu. Something was considerably out of balance, but what? Above all I considered myself dogged by bad luck. I worked incredibly hard, did my best; what more could I possibly do? During my exam year I again experienced problems with my left wrist. At this point I decided to get to the bottom of the matter. I decided that I would only start to play again once the pain had totally disappeared and I had discovered the cause of all this misery. In the end I did play my final exam and was even awarded a 9.5 with distinction, by some miracle. The frustrating thing was that I did in fact have talent but that I made things very difficult for myself in lots of ways. However, at the time I had not yet realised this. In 1999 I began my quest that was to last a year and a half. Read more»