Testimonials Alexander Technique


On this page my students have written in their own words about their experiences with me, the Alexander Technique and their process. Enjoy reading them!

Aisling Casey

Profession: first Oboe player Radio Filharmnoic Orchestra
Reason: self development
I found the AT group workshops with Maaike particularly helpful in applying AT principles to practising and in working out lasting solutions for stubborn technical issues. Performing in front of colleagues while consciously applying these principles, followed by constructive feedback, was informative and very helpful to my playing. It helped develop a greater sense of control within the realm of freedom.

Maaike Warnaar

Profession: University lecturer in Middle East Studies
Reason: Pain in shoulders, back, hands/ RSI

I came to Maaike about half a year ago. The pains in my shoulders, back and hands often started when sitting
behind my desk at work, but also when biking, reading, or simply talking to people. Now, most days I am pain-free, but my lessons with Maaike have done much more for me than ‘simply’ getting a grip on the causes of these pains. Maaike helped me develop a deep sense of how I position myself in my surroundings, be it at my desk, on my bike, on the couch, or anywhere else. She helped me to create a greater sense of awareness about how my breathing, earth’s gravity and the structure of my musculoskeletal system can work together in keeping me balanced and pain-free.

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Equally important is her focus on the pause (taking a moment to ‘feel’ instead of rushing into something), which has helped me develop a more mindful approach to activities big and small. Not only do I now pass most of my days without the usual pains, Maaike’s lessons have helped me to live a more relaxed, balanced and mindful life. The benefits of that extend into every area of life.

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Sarah Ouakrat

profession: first flute player Ballet Orkest
reason: improving breathing, sound and posture

Although Maaike is not a flutist (but a violinist) she helped me tremendously! She really made me feel my body and freed my breathing. I felt so much more connected to my body while playing and more focused after I learned from her. We usually ended up all our lessons with flute playing and music making. She has such special skills to hear deeply the quality of your sound or your involvement in the music as well as your technical challenges. She was really a coach! I was very surprised that she could hear everything; although it is not her instrument, she is a real musician.

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Later on I became pregnant and I heard from Maaike that she could also help me with my delivery using alexander technique and teach me some positions during all the fases of labor. My partner also came to one lesson to learn how to physically support me in the best ways during delivery. It helped me from the beginning to the end of the birth for both my daughters! I could stay focused and have a lot of alternative positions to handle the pain. And after the first birth, I also went back to Maaike to learn good postures during breastfeeding and re-align my head-neck-back.

Basically, alexander technique helps me in my everyday life now, thanks to Maaike! I use it all the time: sleeping position, music practice, sport, cooking, walking and much more! I try to be aware of it as much as possible.

Maaike was always so positive, such a shiny person and encouraging. I strongly recommend her to everyone! She also borrowed me great books about music, auditions, birth, mental and physical training, she simply gave me the motivation and enthusiasm to reach my goals.

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Winnie Hanel

profession: first violinist Gelders Orkest
reason:  audition training, pains in upper arm, shoulder and neck 

Maaike has been working with me over the last 8 years, and I am deeply thankful to her for all the knowledge she has been passing on to me. Alexander technique is truly one of the most precious methods for musicians to get to know and handle their body which I have encountered. Maaike is just the right person to teach it, being a splendid violinist herself in addition to her outstanding qualities as a teacher.

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With her unique, friendly and open-minded way of guiding her students, she manages not only to send me out feeling light, relaxed and with all my channels open, but she also gives me very clear tools to go on using the technique on my own in every possible activity in daily life, from music making to riding my bike or sitting in meditation, to mention just a few.
I regularly come back to Maaike in order to get new inspiration and to be surprised by a different aspect of the technique as well as being nurtured by her keen and curious mind. After her lesson I’ll feel happy, reset and enabled to find my own balance again.

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Felix Lashmar

profession: double bass player Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
reason: Academy Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

I was lucky enough to have a course with Maaike during my time as an academist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. During this time we covered many aspects of the discipline, giving me plenty of ideas for how to feel more connected to myself and then my double bass. 

She brought a tremendous sense of joy and positive calm energy to the lessons, so I would always be, as she would say,‘thinking up’ on my bike on the way to her studio, and looking forward to my lesson.The course with Maaike was my second experience of one-to-one Alexander technique. But I was really happy to be able to refresh my knowledge after some years, with her help and rich perspective.

Lucia Mateo

profession: double bass Academy Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
reason: pain in hands, arms, neck, shoulders

Alexander Technique lessons with Maaike are being so crucial for me since I was already some years having pain in hands and arms while I play double bass; with the pain the confidence on my playing decreased a lot since I could not trust my body anymore. Neither teachers or physiotherapists could give me the key for the muscle relaxation.

By changing my old habits for new ones, AT lessons are the best way I found till now to solve this issue. From the awareness I learnt to instantly reduce the tensions I created in my body; I said “I created” because I realised I was the one doing the most for the tension to appear. A big part of that awareness is to learn to stop (the old habit) and to think twice how is my body acting.

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Thanks to the new habits I learnt in the lessons, my way of practicing is also changing which makes me get less tired when I play.

From the very begging of taking lesson I could notice the state of relaxation after the session just doing nothing and following the teacher’s words. Because I don’t find that state very often in my daily life, I quickly felt that was something good for me. Already in the middle of the year, I began to feel my muscles releasing immediately after listening the teacher directions. I started to understand it was most about listening, persistence, willing and the main ingredient of the let it go without judgment.

AT is also a meditation for me, during the lessons and when I do it at home I only think in the directions, so my mind is already busy giving instructions to my body. I keep busy and clear mind while I release the body, sounds good!! Let’s say while I do AT is easier for me to be in the present moment.

The lessons are also good for my posture health as I work on my back length and strength which was pretty bad since I spent so many hours in my life playing this big instrument. Not only for my playing also for my well-being, I am very glad I went into AT lessons. Now I can go through the directions at any time on my daily life which makes me find myself quickly. I have the feeling I am always in touch with my body so I feel life much more enjoyable.

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Janet Morgan

profession: first bassoon player het Ballet Orkest
reason: pain in neck, shoulder and arms

Via Alexander Technique Maaike has helped me help myself.  With her guidance I’ve been able to improve my technique and reduce my physical stress level.  

Her patience and keen eye helped me identify sources of tension and relax my neck and shoulders to improve my sound in general and specifically help me with a delicate entrance in  Ravel’s “Bolero.”