Frederick Mathias Alexander was born in Tasmania in 1869 and was rather sickly as a child. As a young man he went off to Melbourne to train to become an actor. During one important performance his voice became hoarse and finally disappeared completely. This, for an actor, was of course a disaster. He visited the doctor who suggested various conventional remedies such as throat sprays and resting of the voice - all worked for a short time but were of no use when he started reciting again, as old problems came back.
He concluded " there must be something different that I am doing when acting or reciting, than when I am speaking ordinarily".
He started to watch himself in the mirror while reciting and observed a tendency to tense the muscles of the neck and to pull the head backwards. That was causing a shortening of his whole stature. In other words, we could say that he was making poor use of his organism which was affecting its proper functioning. After the discovery he started a long process of self- observation to understand how he could avoid these bad practices. He realized that he did not have to do anything new, but rather to stop with what he was unconsciously doing. His voice improved and people from the medical and theater fields started to be interested in his discovery.
He moved to London in 1904 and started to develop the teaching of his Technique. He taught important people of his time like the writers Bernard Shaw and Aldous Huxley, the philosopher and educationalist John Dewey, the Nobel prize winners of medicine Charles Sherrington and Nikolaas Tinbergen, amongst others.
In 1931 he started a training for teachers in order to spread his work.
He died in 1955.