The Centre for the Alexander Technique

Pete’s Blog – Thur 7 Apr 2016

Photograph of Peter Ribeaux, Centre for the Alexander Technique
Ah yes, three themes……

Of course there’s only one really. The use of the self. Whatever that means. I’m not being silly, or at least trying not to be. There can be so many versions of what it is depending on which part of the psychophysical lens one looks through. “Use affects functioning”. The “universal constant in living”. However that doesn’t mean we can’t look at different aspects of the “use of the self”.

So why not these three themes? Varieties of touch, Alexander thinking and teaching musicians.

Let’s take touch first. To touch or not to touch? It is clearly possible to influence a person’s use for the better by verbal instruction even though words may be open to misinterpretation. Some of Glenna Batson’s work with old people shows this to good effect. So the question is not really to touch or not to touch but rather to touch as well as talk. That is obviously best unless one gets the words hopelessly wrong.

Touch can be classified in an infinite number of ways. In the Alexander world we are inclined to use dichotomies like hard vs soft, invasive vs non-invasive, manipulative vs non-manipulative, doing vs non-doing. The problem is that without the practical demonstration of what we mean by these terms we can immediately get into all sorts of misunderstandings. This blog stuff is harder than I thought. It would be nice to get together and really exchange. But let’s keep going for a bit longer. But the trouble is that it is possible to work quite invasively as a teacher without “doing” in the bad sense of distorting one’s own use. And then the question is do we mean physically invasive or psychologically?

As I’ve always thought this material is best dealt with experientially or it risks becoming a dreadful head trip. But how else can one communicate in writing except by means of words?

Well that’s enough for now. More soon……..