Born in Wynyard, Tasmania, in 1869, FM, as he was later known, soon developed a passion for poetry and, especially for Shakespeare. At the age of 20 he moved to Melbourne and, after gaining some experience as an amateur, he went on to become a professional reciter. Some time later Alexander started to have trouble with his voice. While reciting he was becoming hoarse and, from time to time, he would lose his voice altogether. FM consulted various doctors and voice trainers but no treatment seemed to have any long-term effect. He therefore concluded that the source of his problems must be caused by something he himself was doing while performing. This observation inspired him to search for a method of preventing his troubles and regaining his health.
A full account of Alexander's journey to develop what we now know as the Alexander Technique can be found in his book The Use of the Self.