"Thinking Aloud: Talks on Teaching the Alexander Technique"
This book is a favourite
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 30th December 2010For 60 years Walter Carrington was a leading figure in the teaching and development of the Alexander Technique in the UK (up to his death in 2005). This book is a collection of short lectures that he gave to students on the Alexander teacher training course at Holland Park, London, from the 1970's, 80's and 90's, which touches on various aspects of the Technique, by turns revisiting, interpreting and expanding upon F.M. Alexander's writings and ideas.
The lectures are short and tend to focus on a single idea (usually summarised by the title, for example "Allowing time to say no", or "Non-doing"), and within them Carrington expresses his thoughts with the clarity and deceptive simplicity which is characteristic of all great teachers. While the chapters about breathing, directing the head and neck, and riding (Carrington was a keen horse rider, but it seems to me that his comments could equally apply to other kinds of athletic activity) felt particularly significant to me, there was something of value in every chapter of the book.
This isn't a book for newcomers to Alexander: originally intended for trainee teachers, the lectures implicitly assume a familiarity with both the language and the ideas of the Technique, such as inhibition, direction, primary control and so on. However having had lessons for the last two years I found many of the lectures extremely illuminating and thought-provoking, and has given me a fresh perspective and renewed interest. I'm sure that given the shortness of the chapters (and the lack of a discernible order to the material), this will be a rewarding book to return to frequently over time, and I look forward to re-reading it in parts and as a whole in the coming years. Excellent.
(You can read more about Walter Carrington's life and work here: http://waltercarrington.com/.)
Finished on 24th January 2016