One of the things I particularly love about the Alexander Technique is the idea ‘all-round usefulness’, and the treasure trove of good and useful things to be learnt from all sorts of teachers, not just FM Alexander himself. Provided the ideas don’t actively clash with the principles Alexander taught(*), they can expand the usefulness of the Technique by huge leaps.
So I was delighted when I found this on the internet. It’s a list of ten rules for students, written by Sister Corita Kent, with a helping hand from John Cage(**)RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)
Actually, if you read Alexander you will find quite a lot of these rules, written in a different sort of language. Some apply particularly to lessons. Others you can take everywhere. The list is going up on my teaching room wall. Today.
(*) Take a look at this quote from Alexander:-
“Judgment must always be made upon the human creature’s intelligent activities on a general basis in the process of living and all-round usefulness” Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual IRDEAT edition p.374
(**) via Maria Popova @brainbickings http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/10/10-rules-for-students-and-teachers-john-cage-corita-kent/