Reflections on Teaching the Alexander Technique
This book is a valuable and thought-provoking
contribution to the process of "continuing education" that is so strongly
advocated these days by professional societies and associations. It can help teachers and
students to think afresh and reassess the significance and value of what they have
experienced and learnt. It can help them to make connections.
Some of the material here is new, some has been published elsewhere. Only Connect, the title of one of the articles reprinted here, seemed the right title for the book, too. I first read Howards End long ago, during a period when I was groping for the direction my life should take. The phrase grabbed me then, becoming even more charged with meaning as time went on. It seems almost to have given me a glimpse of my future in this profession I had not then heard of.
I see now that Mind and Muscle itself was an attempt to make connections. Mind, says the dictionary, is the direction of a persons thoughts, desires, inclinations or energies, and an ancient meaning, memory, survives in the expression bear in mind. Muscle in the title stood for some of the down-to-earth practicalities involved in going in the direction of our thoughts, desires, inclinations, energies.
The Verbal Communication article reflects my preoccupation with a search for clarity in varying circumstances, as will be seen in the material born of requests from different groups. It is always interesting to try to explain a little about the Alexander Technique to people in a way that shows its relevance for them. Part I consists of some of my attempts to express my thoughts about it to different groups at different times.
Part II is more concerned with communication between Alexander teachers. Correspondence on teaching questions shows an unexpected degree of agreement reached by going calmly and deeply into what one wants to express. The approach seems worth pursuing. From this perspective, if one article in this book is important, it must be Head and Hands, which includes an attempt to examine some of Alexanders most emphatically worded instructions. I sincerely hope that any colleague who disagrees with my reading of them will take the trouble to let me know in detail where they think I am mistaken.
Elizabeth Langford, 2008
Contents of Only Connect
PART I Thoughts on themes
PART II Exchanging ideas
© Alexandertechniek Centrum vzw