Workshops and Seminars for Teachers and Trainees 1

A Series of Face-to-Face Mentoring/CPD Workshops

(subject to Covid contingencies)

 

for Alexander Technique teachers and trainees

with Michael Stenning and Léonie John

A sequence of two workshops per year over three years –

Come to one workshop or ideally build across all 6.

 

Melbourne             SOFMAS 10.00am – 4.00pm ….. 2022 dates to be confirmed

Sydney              Cammeray Golf Club 10.00am – 4.00pm …..2022 dates to be confirmed

 

$320 per 2022 workshop, early bird $280 

Booking confirmed on receipt of  fee: BSB 112 908 Ac No 154464967

Please use your name and w/s date as reference

 

Cellist Pablo Casals, asked at age 90 why he kept practising, replied, “I feel I am getting somewhere”. Let’s keep refreshing our own basics! Let’s drill down into our assumptions and let’s revisit our practical understanding and skills.

These workshops will address these questions with practical procedures, discussion and hands-on work (YAY!!)

 

Michael’s work is clear, precise and consistent. There is a simplicity in his teaching which … is the hallmark of a master-teacher. (Merran Poplar, Teacher-trainer and STAT moderator)

“With refreshing clarity you are addressing the fundamentals of the Alexander Technique and how we can work on ourselves”(Lynne Conway – 3rd year trainee)

“Really enjoyed your clarity and you have really embodied your teaching.” (Penelope Carr – 35-year Teacher-trainer and AuSTAT moderator)

“Great clarity and a fresh curiosity in exploration – thanks!”

(Matthias Erdrich – Eyebody Teacher)

In these workshops successive themes may include:

  • building the big Alexander picture out of the pieces – what are the pieces?
  • Reciprocity and the ‘Primary Control’
  • communication – hands, verbal and ?
  • breath
  • teaching intangibles – understanding ‘the sphere’
  • giving a first lesson
  • helping a pupil to unravelling their habits – how to figure out where to most usefully start
  • teaching challenges and how to meet them. What ‘interesting’ or ‘challenging’ situations have you encountered in teaching?
  • the difference between What?, How?, and Why?
  • working on yourself: How and What?
  • relationship between Inhibition and Direction
  • giving your directions and building your “directing muscles”: How does this relate to putting your hands on? What’s the alternative?
  • Working with a pupil on an activity – what is within our remit?

Up to a point these themes are circular – themes crops up within the others. We may have someone new to the work in class to demonstrate with when relevant.

Not So Certain – What Can We Learn From Each Other?

Not So Certain – What Can We Learn From Each Other?

Bruce Fertman, charming man and terrific Alexander teacher, has written a piece called ‘Constructive Doubt’.
I like what Bruce says, and I wanted to pick up on the word ‘rifts’ as I think this is an important issue in our AT community. Is the word ‘rifts’ helpful?
Certainly there are differences among AT teachers roughly according to lineages.
‘Vive les differences!’ say I.
‘Vive les differences’, with an attitude of humility. ‘My way’ is certainly not the only way. I teach in the way that I have been taught and learnt (starting over 40 years ago); and I teach in the way that my own work has evolved during those years. My goal is to maintain an attitude of not-knowing. I have learnt a huge amount from other teachers since qualifying from my very traditional training as an AT teacher. They include teachers from all AT lineages and others. Bruce, I remember being beguiled by your words at a talk you gave in Sydney in 1994. I still assume that I do not have the whole AT picture. I have enough to be able to help a lot of people, to teach them useful skills and a less fixed way of looking at themselves and the world. And I am still learning and having a ball. And I would still regard myself as a fairly ‘conservative’ teacher, if ‘conservative’ means sticking to basic principles. (Yes, cue question here…)
Emphases vary between traditions and between teachers. You can only teach out of your own experience. (This is where ‘rifts’ started – all the 1st gen were teaching out of their own experience, which necessarily were not identical). We mustn’t harden into any sort of position, least of all, one that you got from someone else. So it make sense to both deepen and to widen your experience. My own strong preference, and what I have encouraged in my trainees, is to do this after you have thoroughly steeped yourself in ONE tradition, mindful that it is not the only way, and mindful that other traditions may have pieces that yours does not articulate as clearly.
Here is a metaphor (geography buffs, please allow me some license – it is a metaphor, not a map!:
In the 1400’s and 1500’s traders sailed east around Africa to reach the Spice Islands in the East Indies. It took a lot of time for someone to try sailing west. Eventually it was realized that you could reach the same islands by sailing either east or west – same destination, different route. Main thing was, keep sailing! Certainty about the ‘right’ way to get there was shifted.
For Alexander teachers, keep teaching, with less certainty, out of Bruce’s ‘constructive doubt’, and stay curious. We can learn from one another.