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Tuning Into FM: Have You Read Your Alexander Lately? — 8 Comments

  1. I read Maisel first and was struck by the teaching aphorisms. FM sounded like a zen master…although I had no idea what a zen master souinded like. I have read smippets from the actual books but I bog down. I am not a really focussed reader. I did read Jones avidly but Jones has a quite different flavor. I guess I will never make the Alexander fanatics list.

  2. I want to add to the above. I have found from my experience that any activity can be an opportunity to bring greater ease into play. No doubt reading Alexander would help someone with experience as they reflect on his message. Where I bog down is making the message my own. An example of this is found in my original profession: Chiropractic. Chiropractors like to tell the story DDPalmer helping a deaf janitor recover his hearing with the “first” Chiropractic adjustment. It is a triangulating dynamic and its quite easy to enter into that dynamic in Alexander lessons as well. It certainly helps the setting feel safer but does it really contribute to the students understanding. More than being literate and that is important, I believe we need to embody our personal vision of “what it is” and help the student to their own vision as well.

  3. I take the advice of Carrington and other 1st gen teachers: read and re-read the books. They are as close to a lesson with Alexander as I will get. I must keep in mind that I am teaching the Alexander Technique; not the Rebecca Poole Technique. My thinking got me into pain, while Alexanders got me out of it.

    Alexander’s sentences might be 90 words long. He might sound pretentious or like a drama queen. So what. If you want to go deep, if you can read philosophy or Shakespeare, you can read F.M.

    What helped me? As part of my training, the books were read aloud by a certified teacher who had experiential knowledge of F.M.’s writing and could translate for is, if needed. We could stop her if we didn’t understand or had a question/ comment. Some days we only made it through 3 pages. LOL. By the end of my training, I’d heard/ read all 4 books twice, minimum.

    Primary sources emphasized first. Secondary as supplemental, etc.

    Suggestion: Read aloud and to someone else. Slow down. Pause at commas.Puzzle out ideas.

    I currently will bring in sections of text for students that I believe might help them. They love it.

  4. Great blogpost. Can I find the energy to carefully read them all again, as we did in training? Hope so, and I like the idea of reading aloud with someone else, perhaps an advanced student. But dabbling in the books is also very useful. I have also found it revealing to re-read (small) sections of Alexander’s major books, even just a page has challenged my thinking. I have also used the little book of FM’saphorisms ith students.

  5. Like John Macy, I feel that it is very important to re-read Alexander’s books as source material for our teaching. I have my favorites, CCC and The Use of the Self (read CCC more than 8 times), and wonder that I didn’t remember things he said for the first seven! Yes, as John implies, each reading will offer more depth. I often use the “artichoke” metaphor in my teaching; the deepening of Alexander’s concepts and practical applications to the work in the activity of actively reading his material offers a peeling away of the artichoke. Perhaps one day I will finally get to the delicious center!

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