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The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life Paperback – 26 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd (26 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861262868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861262868
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pedro de Alcantara's books include the children's novels "Befiddled" and "Backtracked" (both published by Delacorte Press) and works of non-fiction for adults, including "Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique" (published by the Oxford University Press and translated into French, German, and Japanese) and "The Alexander Technique: A Skill for Life" (published by Crowood). He's the editor of THE INTEGRATED MUSICIAN, a new book series at the OUP. He travels the world giving seminars and master classes. Pedro is currently finishing two new books -- a new novel for young readers and a book for musicians titled "Integrated Practice." He's also putting together a selection of his original improvisations and compositions (for cello, voice, piano, and whistling) for performance and recording.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By simon on 1 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took alexander classes a few years ago after a car accident that broke my neck and almost killed me. after surgery I managed to walk away but obviously took with me serious neck issues. I wont go any further into details other than to say that almost instantly (!) during my first classes my neck felt much much better, as if someone had oiled it and loosened it up, and I was an instant and very surprised convert to a subtle and frustrating and amazing process that went much further than just recovering from an accident.

I borrowed many books from my teachers, across a spectrum of styles and approaches to the subject, (dont bother with the books by Alexander himself, they are a mess, as gifted as he was the guy couldn't write) and this one is the one I liked the best. I have to admint that starting the book I didn't like it so much for a reason I cant really pin down, but by the end I had changed my mind and thought it was an excellent overall explanation and very incisive and clear. Made me much more aware of the "mind, character and attitude" side of the technique, rather than just the physical aspects.

When I recently wanted to brush up on my alexander technique, I bought this book to refresh my memory. Reading it again, I can only say I still like it just as much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Moon on 25 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback
This author is not a conventional practitioner, his section on the performing arts is really useful and insightful. I loved the bit about kissing, that was funny and also pertinent. A friend has suggested that his work is unconventional, fun and very applicable. If you are studying Alex Technique or just interested then this book will give you a provocative and interesting angle to feed and help you pursue your interest further. Great read and excellent illustrations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bart on 29 Oct 2013
Format: Paperback
First book on A.T. I read so cannot make a comparison on the content. It is though very well written, easy to understand and very interesting. Probably will need a second time through. Some of the content is by other authors with more experience on a particular subject (like pregnancy). Recommened.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Henry Campbell on 31 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Happy with purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding introduction to the Alexander Technique! 15 July 2003
By len201 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have heard of the Alexander Technique, but don't know much about it, or have heard a brief description from a friend that has left you befuddled, this book is an excellent introduction. If this book is not your first contact with the technique, I still highly recommend it. I had been taking lessons in the Alexander Technique for about a year when I first read it, and it provide a great supplement to what I had already learned. I often refer back to it.
The book begins with some history on the technique along with its basic principles and also explains what happens during a lesson. It is divided into chapters that focus on different aspects of life and shows how our "suppositions, habits, and behaviours" affect all parts of our lives.
One thing I especially like about this book is that there are many photographs of people and animals as well as personal statements written by students of the Alexander Technique - these are very helpful, in giving visual and real life references to what is in the text.
De Alcantera's writing is thought provoking, easy to read, specific, direct and often humorous. It's a great read. I didn't want to put it down!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great introduction to the alexander technique 1 Jan 2010
By S. Srinivasan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by my Alexander technique Instructor. Although no book can really replace an Alexander instructor, this book is a very good companion guide with your lessons. The author gives a very good introduction to the technique, an understanding into what the technique is and what it is not. He also gives several examples and pictures to illustrate 'good use' and 'bad use'. There are many useful insights that illustrate how the technique is not about maintaining a certain body posture, but it is about the use of the self (The self includes body, speech and thinking). The author also beautifully explains the concepts of non-doing, end-gaining, inhibition and direction etc.

There are also accounts by people who caused injuries to themselves through bad use and recovered after learning the Alexander technique. These stories are pretty insightful and inspirational. I myself have suffered from chronic hip pain because of misuse, and have been on the path to recovery after learning the technique.

The technique although quite simple can take a considerable amount of time to learn, understand and implement into everyday use. So I would highly recommend this book (along with taking lessons from a personal instructor) which can accelerate one's understanding of the technique. I benefited a lot from reading this book and it helped me improve my use tremondously.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A Good Resource for Beginners 30 July 2010
By PaigeM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I had to recommend one book to a beginning student of the Alexander Technique, it would be this one. Pedro's writing style conveys the subtlety of the AT while remaining thoroughly readable and quite humorous at times. It is no substitute for lessons with a qualified teacher, but is an excellent companion on the journey.

Pedro's "Indirect Procedures" is also excellent and goes into greater depth.Indirect Procedures: A Musician's Guide to the Alexander Technique (Clarendon Paperbacks)
Thumbs up 23 Sep 2013
By huesillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pedro de Alcantara is a wonderful teacher. This book clearly explains the technique and most of all our mechanical habitual unconscious shortcomings. Intelligently written. Anybody who wants to learn intellectually what this technique is about should read this book. I highly recommend it.
Beautifully written, clear and wise 16 Dec 2012
By aproductofsociety - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This excellent introduction to the Alexander Technique distills the insights gained from years of practice and teaching into a very concise format. The explanations are clear and compelling, and the writing is literate without being stuffy. Though no book can provide a substitute for individual lessons with an experienced teacher, this is a fine and thought provoking reference for the beginner or the experienced student of the Technique. Highly recommended!
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