Ms Janet Davies


Biographical details

Janet Davies studied violin, piano and harpsichord at Sydney Conservatorium. Her violin teachers were Robert Pikler and Dorel Tincu, and for violin pedagogy, Alice Waten. As a professional violinist she was a core member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and a freelance player with Sydney’s other major orchestras.

Janet has been teaching at Sydney Conservatorium for more than 25 years and has had numerous roles during this time, including teaching violin, chamber music and orchestral studies and Head of the Preparatory Division (now Rising Stars). She has also been very actively involved in violin pedagogy through curriculum design, lecturing and research supervision at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as through conducting professional development courses for violin teachers through the Open Academy.

In 1985 Janet completed a three-year Alexander Technique (AT) teacher training, and has since specialised in the application of the Technique to musical performance at an elite level. As a result of this extensive experience she has developed her own innovative method, The Resonant Body,enabling the AT to be readily accessible to musicians for immediate improvements in playing and performance. Currently she conducts AT classes for players in the Sydney Symphony and Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestras, as well as for secondary and tertiary students at Sydney Conservatorium.

In the fields of both violin pedagogy and Alexander Technique Janet has lectured extensively for such organisations as Australian String Teachers, Suzuki Association, Australian Society of Performing Arts Health and Australian Society of Alexander Technique Teachers, as well as for various universities including Melbourne, Monash and Griffith. In her private practice, she teaches violin students of all ages and works with professional players on concert and audition preparation, technique modification and injury rehabilitation.

Her students have had numerous successes in competitions as well as achieving prominent positions in Australian and international orchestras and universities. Many have had Fellowships with the Sydney Symphony and Australian Chamber Orchestras and have been principal players in both the Australian and Sydney Youth Orchestras. Some ex-students include: Heather Cottrell (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), Emily Long and Rebecca Gill (Sydney Symphony Orchestra), James Wannan (Australian Piano Quartet), Robin Wilson (Australian National Academy, Ironwood), and the Orava String Quartet (Tony Berg Prize and Audience Prize, Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition, 2013).

She is the recipient of several awards, including a Conservatorium Travel Grant in 1990 and a Churchill Fellowship in 2008, both of which facilitated working with leading international violin and Alexander teachers. The violin teachers whose work she has had the opportunity to observe intensively include Dorothy Delay, Igor Ozim, Natasha Boyarsky, Simon Fischer, Boris Kuschnir, Ana Chumachenco, and Yair and Eyal Kless.

In 1993, with the help of a Conservatorium Research Grant, she attended the International Symposium on Performing Arts Medicine in Aspen in 1993 and in 2002 published research on predictors of musculoskeletal injuries in professional instrumental musicians. In 2011 as a consultant to Sydney University’s Sound Practice Posture Trial she designed a series of classes in Alexander Technique specifically for players in Australia’s major orchestras.

Research interests

Education, psychology, neuroscience.

Alexander Technique for musicians: functional anatomy, biomechanics, Body Mapping, 'bio-tensegrity'.

Musical interpretation and performance: expression and communication of emotion and psychological states.

Associations

Australian String Teachers Association (AUSTA)

Australian Society for Teachers of the Alexander Technique (AUSTAT)

Australian Society for Performing Arts Healthcare (ASPAH)

Awards and honours

Dr Iain C. Medgett Churchill Fellowship to study with leading practitioners of both violin pedagogy and Alexander Technique in USA, Germany, UK, Israel (August 2009).

Janet's report for the Churchill Fellowship can be accessed here.

1994: Conservatorium Research Grant. Project: "Playing-related musculoskeletal problems in musicians: contributory factors to injury and the efficacy of current prevention and treatment strategies".

1990: Conservatorium Board of Governors' Fellowship: 12 week study tour to investigate international pedagogical methods.

Conference presentations

Davies, J. (2017). Tension and relaxation in violin playing: Alexander Technique as bio-tensegrity. Keynote speaker: 2017 Violin Pedagogy Conference, Sydney Conservatorium.

Davies, J. (2016). Classes in Alexander Technique for tertiary students at Sydney Conservatorium: perceptions of benefit.2016 Performing Wellness Symposium, University of Melbourne.

Davies, J. (2016). Could tension and compression be good for your body? Alexander Technique as ‘bio-tensegrity’.2016 Performing Wellness Symposium, University of Melbourne.

Davies J. (2011). A Curriculum in Alexander Technique for Orchestral Musicians.Australian Society for PerformingArts Healthcare and Australian Voicecare Ass. Combined Annual Conference. Sydney University.

Davies, J. (2009). The Resonant Body: a practical interpretation of the Alexander Technique for musicians.7thInternational Conference for Alexander Teachers working with musicians.Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, UK.

Davies, J. (2008). Violin Intonation – a Practical Approach.2008 Australian Violin Pedagogy Conference.Sydney Conservatorium.

Various publications

Davies, J., Mangion, S. (2016). Risk Factors for Musculoskeletal Disorders in Musicians. Letter to editor in:Med. Prob. Perf. Art.,31(1), 58.

Davies, J. (2014). Alexander Technique for String Players. Aust. Soc. String Teach.June.

Davies, J. (2012). Ask the Teacher.The Strad. June p85.

Davies, J. (2011). “The Resonant Body”: a curriculum in Alexander Technique for orchestral players. 6 volumes. Part ofSydney University’s Sound Practice Project.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Davies, J., Mangion, S. (2002). Predictors of Pain and Other Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Professional Instrumental Musicians: Eludiating Specific Effects. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(4), 155-168.

2002

  • Davies, J., Mangion, S. (2002). Predictors of Pain and Other Musculoskeletal Symptoms among Professional Instrumental Musicians: Eludiating Specific Effects. Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 17(4), 155-168.

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