In his introduction, Mr. Davies says that he has tried to maintain some of the spontaneity and flow of the conversations and in this he has succeeded. The book reads very easily, almost as if one were eavesdropping on the two of them talking in her living room. True to the nature of conversation, one topic invariably leads to another and many things that are discussed early on in the book are revisited in later chapters. The book is dotted with wonderful and often humorous anecdotes of FM Alexander and the family, life on the first training course, as well as stories from Marjory’s own teaching and training experience and her thoughts on the future of the Technique. At the end of the book are transcripts of two Memorial Lectures given by Marjory that are worth a read as well as recollections of her training course by former teacher trainees.
’This is an exercise in what thinking is.’ If that doesn’t put it in a nutshell, I don’t know! (page 130)
After 70 plus years of experience as a student, trainee, teacher, and trainer, Marjory is able to talk about the Technique in a refreshingly simple and uncomplicated way. What we are teaching is stimulus, inhibition, direction, and movement and that is plenty she says. By recording her recollections of her uncle’s words and practices she encourages us to follow the principles of the Technique and to continue to look to his books for guidance.
You can learn a lot from what your teacher says, if they’re talking sense, but most of what you learn, what you really learn, is from your own experience of working on yourself. That’s where the confidence comes from. (page 29)
If there is a common thread that ties the book together it is without a doubt Marjory’s constant emphasis on the importance of working on oneself. This is touched upon in some form or another in almost every chapter and is discussed as it relates to herself, her students, and her trainees. Marjorie describes the tradition of inhibiting, ordering, and working on oneself that was instilled in her while on her uncle’s training course. It is this tradition or discipline of working on oneself that she refers to as pure Alexander and she believes it is our main job as teachers and trainers to pass this on to our students. If we do not do this we have failed at our job.
But once I had the work, I had a thread, a golden thread that ran through everything. (page 175)
The joy, meaning, and direction the Technique has brought to Marjory’s life spills forth from the pages of this book. As a young teacher I find her words truly inspiring and I think experienced teachers will find inspiration in her words as well.
© Lauren Hill. Reproduced with permission.Lauren Hill (www.alexanderteachingstudio.com)This edition © Mouritz 2005-2014. All rights reserved.
© Andrea Matthews. Reproduced with permission.This edition © Mouritz 2005-2014. All rights reserved.