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How to Learn the Alexander Technique: A Manual for Students Paperback – Jul 1 1995

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jul 1 1995
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Andover Pr; 3 Revised edition (July 1 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962259543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962259548
  • Product Dimensions: 27.2 x 21.1 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #454,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Filled with powerful insights and original thinking, the Conable book is a superb, practical guide for Alexander Students" -- Michael Gelb

"Not only does it offer meaty, practical information for students; it also provides valuable insights for teachers....The best explanation of primary control and downward pull that I've yet seen....A treasure trove...for any Alexander teacher working with students in activity....A healthy extension of F.M. [Alexander]'s work." -- Robert Cohen, ACAT News

"This is a book to read with enthusiasm and attentiveness. It could influence profoundly a teacher's effectiveness with students....A book of immediate usefulness to the performer and teacher, and one which will stimulate productive self-evaluation and awareness. It is persuasive and positive in tone, easy to read and wonderfully enticing." -- Thomas Mastroianni, American Music Teacher

About the Author

Barbara Conable is an Alexander teacher of 23 years experience and a teaching member of the North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique and Alexander Technique International. She has taught at the Ohio State University and the Cincinnati Conservatory and is now President of Andover Educators. She is an active poet and the author and editor of several books about the Alexander Technique.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

There seems to be a lot of controversy about whether someone can learn the Alexander Technique without a teacher. My own experience started with taking lessons from a teacher, but I've met several people who learned quite a bit on their own - not just learned it intellectually (which doensn't do much good anyway) but also were able to apply what they had learned to improve their posture, coordation and balance in very concrete ways.
"How to Learn the Alexander Technique" is a great starting-out place for anyone who's interested in the process but either doesn't have a teacher or would prefer to do as much on their own as possible. But it would be unfair to dismiss the usefulness of the Alexander Technique if you don't succeed. After all, most people have lessons in learning how to drive a car and so it's not surprising if you end up needing at least some lessons in learning how to "drive" yourself in a better way.
Ultimately, I think the best place to get a deeper understanding of the Technique is from Alexander's own books. But a very good first step is the Conables' book, "Body Learning" by Gelb and "Fitness Without Stress" by Rickover. Also a book called "Freedom to Change" by Jones.
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The title is somewhat misleading because in most cases you'll need to have at least some lessons or classes from a qualified Alexander Technique teacher. I purchased the book after I'd had a few lessons because I had to drive 100 miles round trip for each lesson and I wanted to do as much as I could on my own. The book enabled me to find out some very basic anatomical facts about myself that I'd never known before and that made a big difference in how I did things.I'm a viola player and I found the information about where the joints are in my arms and shounder made my playing a lot easier and alleviated to neck pain I'd been plagued with for years. I also found it imporoved the quality of my playing significantly. For me, this information alone was worth a lot more than the cost of the book.If you haven't had any Alexander lessons, I'd get a more basic introuctory book first, probably Fitness Without Stress or the Alexander Technique manual.
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I feel moved to respond to some of the reviews below, which seem to me to judge the book more in terms of what it is not, rather than what it is. This is an excellent book to read *as* you're taking lessons; the book provides a wonderful companion to your ongoing learning, offering some fascinating insights on body perception and habits of movement, insights that have stuck with me half a decade after I first read the book. It's a great book to browse through, reading chapters as they relate to your interests. What the book is *not* is an introduction for absolute beginners who've not heard of the technique before; it is intended for people who have taken or will take Alexander lessons, and in this it succeeds admirably.
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That's a very interesting book, where you can learn about the importance of knowing your body in order to know how to use it. It can be very helpful if you intend to take Alexander Technique lessons. I bought the book because I thought this was THE book where you can learn something about the technique without taking lessons. That is not the case. The main problem is that Alexander was a fantastic pioneer on the field of sommatics but did not have the conceptual skills to transform its fantastic intuitions in an easily explainable system. If you do not have an Alexander teacher nearby you you should try Feldenkrais book Awareness Through Movement book.
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