Last Friday I was working all day at the Opera Studio here in Mexico City, where I teach the Alexander Technique. It was a full, almost 8 hour day today as I attended an audition that my students participated in for a well known Opera Director, after which we had a 2 hour AT group session and then after a short break to grab something to eat, came back to attend and assist in the Acting class where pieces were being reviewed as well as workshopped for upcoming performances..
To say that I was a little tired by the end of the day is an understatement! However, along with this sense of physical lethargy, I also had the oh-so-familiar feeling of regenerated energy and motivation to know more and plan for future classes and explorations!
I truly love my job!
I feel so incredibly honoured and priveledged to be working with this programme and these very talented young artists.
The day´s session was not too heavy and active as I know it was going to be an intensive enough day.. so we reviewed some of the principles, relating them to their experiences and my observations of the morning audition as well as some mind-body work on the floor in ¨semi-supine¨.
I also gave them a short questionnaire to fill out. This is something I’ve done for years, especially with long courses and group sessions. I see it as a check in, both for the student as well as for me… a ¨see where we are at¨ moment and a ¨where would like to continue towards¨ review..
It is so helpful to just stop and take stock. Especially when it has to do with something that is relatively, if not completely, new. We spend hours a week investigating, exploring, discovering and reeducating our bodies and our minds.. why not stop and see how we´re doing!
On the way home I took the forms and had a read over them. It delights me to know that each individual student is having their very own journey with this work, as this is precisely what it is. No one Alexander Technique experience will be a carbon copy of another… And it is not something that can be repeated and/or imitated.. It comes from the individual and is essentially all about getting to know oneself better (¨Know thyself¨- Pluto), becoming more consciously aware of ones artistic, movement, vocal expressions and choices and o¡in doing so, allowing for some more space in time to make better choices and to stay connected.
The students all filled out their forms honestly and candidly noting their own self observations, knowledge and discoveries with the technique and how, today, they are defining it for themselves and how it relates to them in their performances and creative development.
It was extremely interesting for me to read these…as it gives me
1. a sense of where we are as a group
2. a sense of where each individually is in their own understanding and application of the technique and
3. ideas for future classes and areas to focus on for the remaining months of the year and programme.
Since this day I have been focussing in on exploring new class plans and activities to focus in on what they have told me they need and want.
As a teacher / educator, I believe this is out job, first and foremost. To listen! We are not there to impart through impressing with our curriculum or feeding our own egos by performing to an audience.. This work in teaching for me is about providing tools for exploration, creating a safe, non judgmental environment for learning…remaining curious and above all being humble and never losing sight on the fact that we are ALL students!
And so… I remain curious and open, listening and responding to the questions that come up in classes and continue to grow and improve my teaching. I love it and I believe that the people who chose to come and learn with me through the Alexander Technique are the ones I will learn the most from!