Here you’ll find a selection of our current news and activities.
Link to promotional video A New Life by Philip Pawley, Alexander Teacher late of Liverpool. Includes sequence on teacher training filmed at MATTS (St Anselm’s Hall, University of Manchester), 25th April 2005.
A New Life - MATTS
MATTS welcomes a number of visiting Senior Teachers and special guests throughout the year as well as hosting a range of events. If you are interested in attending any of these, please contact the Head of Training for further details:
Two New Papers Added to the Resources Section of the Site
‘The Human Voice’, was until recently a ‘lost’ document. Written by F. M. Alexander in about 1900, it was obviously meant to advertise his teaching to prospective pupils on the occasion of his move from Melbourne to Sydney. It throws new light on his key influences at the time. ‘Breathing and the evolving concept of ‘primary control’ during Alexander’s lifetime’, Malcolm Williamson 2014. This article first appeared in In The Moment, AuSTAT, November 2014. Visit the Resources page of the website to download the pdf files.
A New MATTS Graduate and a visit by Giora Pinkas
The Spring term ended on a high note with a newly-qualified teacher Jenny Fox Eades and a visit by senior teacher, Giora Pinkas from San Francisco. Jenny is based in Macclesfield. As an educationist, Jenny has helped us at MATTS gain a greater appreciation of the contribution Alexander made to developing the ideas of one of America’s foremost philosophers, John Dewey. With a book on Alexander’s ‘Neglected Influence’ soon to be republished by Mouritz, Jenny’s entry into the AT teaching profession will help us, as teachers, also not to be guilty of neglecting this important influence and contribution.
As ever, Giora’s teaching brought a lightness and humour to the work as he demonstrated his impressive teaching skills. He trained with Patrick Macdonald in the 1960s and is not far off celebrating a half-century of teaching. Previous to his current school, Giora was a Head of Training in Freiburg, Germany. He is now an established teacher on the international circuit. We look forward to a return (third) visit to Manchester.
MATTS ‘Hat Day’ June 2013
Actors often say they have to be wearing the right hat or shoes to get into character. Apart from being fun, wearing a different hat helped the group explore playing different roles. Dewey wrote that society clothes us in our habits and we are largely unaware of the way we 'change character' to suit where we are and who we are with. By first being given a hat to wear, then choosing for ourselves a hat we liked or hated we noticed changes to our own and other's behaviour.
Gloria Pullan made her annual visit to MATTS this June. Gloria works with riders from her home in Hertfordshire. She says that working on the saddle is also invaluable for other, non-riding pupils. Singers, in particular, appreciate the freedom they experience in their legs and lower back. Gloria has developed saddle work, begun by Walter Carrington, to a fine art: a valuable addition to the teacher's repertoire.
Recent Visits by Senior Teachers March 2013
Recent visitors to MATTS this term have included Kathleen Ballard who is based in Oxfordshire and Shaike and Linda Hermelin from Israel. Shaike trained as an Alexander teacher with Patrick Macdonald in the 1960s. Macdonald was one of the first group of students to train with Alexander when he opened his training school in 1931. Shaike with his wife, Linda, have been running their own training course in Tel Aviv since 1981 and the quality of their teaching is recognised internationally.
Students (and teachers) appreciate the variety of ideas visiting teachers bring to the school. Work can be challenging but is always lots of fun.
Visiting Teachers to MATTS
MATTS trainees and teachers, and students at the Royal Northern College of Music enjoyed a two-day visit from Alex Farkas (18th - 19th May), American AT teacher and musician. His teaching emphasised the importance of stopping and quietening (not over-preparing or trying too hard) in performance, and "staying back in one's back". Simple (but not easy) advice and very effective! Students' commented, "Amazing", "Fantastic" as they experienced greater ease of movement and a more resonant sound.
Kathleen Ballard spent three days with MATTS students and teachers (24th - 26th May) on her welcome annual visit to Manchester. Kathleen shared her ideas about directing attention and energy to improve our 'connection', co-ordination and performance. A pair of spiral-patterned socks came in useful to demonstrate that effective lengthening and widening and 'giving directions' (to ourselves and pupils) requires our thinking three-dimensionally.
Congratulations to Three New MATTS Graduates!
MATTS recently celebrated three newly qualified teachers: Gerard Healey, David Hudson and Andy Moorhouse. These bring the total of MATTS-trained teachers to 26 over the past twelve years. Gerard and Andy will both be teaching in south Manchester; David is based in Bollington in Cheshire. Congratulations to all three.
Malcolm attended the 9th International Conference for Alexander Technique in Music Education held at Trinity Laban Conservatoire 30-31 July 2016. His workshop 'Restoring your Factory Settings' explored the familiar procedure 'hands on the back of the chair' - "a fullness, broadness and firmness of the back" necessary for deftness and control. This is covered in his newly revised 'Handbook for Musicians' which can be downloaded from the Resources page.
Julia Woodman has contributed a chapter on recent medical trials highlighting the Technique as a healthcare intervention. Other contributors familiar to MATTS are Kathleen Ballard (Ideo-motor theory) and Anne Battye (Alexander’s life and work). For futher details and purchasing visit the Hite website
Group photograph at the Hite Book Launch - 28 Feb 2015
Malcolm Williamson has completed his two-year project in fulfilment of his Teaching Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music. His advice to music students, review of Alexander’s early professional life in Australia and England (1889-1910), and Handbook for students is available to download from the Resources page of our site. Regarding the RNCM project, Malcolm will be participating in the forthcoming International Conference for Alexander Teachers Working in Music Institutions, to be held at the Royal Academy of Music, London on the 18th-19th February 2012. He will be introducing his project to delegates. The script of his talk, with references, is also available on the Resources page.
The new book Connected Perspectives - The Alexander Technique in Context published by Hite is now available. Malcolm attended the book’s launch at 10 Harley Street (see group photo) on 28th February and the book promises to be a great success. There are 23 articles each by a different author on wide-ranging topics - from sex to cycling - and all relevant to applying the Technique. Malcolm’s chapter is on the early development of the Technique during Alexander’s stay in Melbourne 1889 - 1900.