I trained to teach the Alexander Technique from 1986 to 1990 at The Institute for the Alexander Technique in Manhattan under Thomas Lemens. My class hours were Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 9:30am, after which I worked from 10:00am until 6:00pm renovating apartments. As I was living in New Jersey at the time, I had to get up before 5:00am to take the train into Manhattan. After work, I would take the Path train back to Hoboken, sometimes stopping at the YMCA for a mile swim. Looking back on this time, I have no idea how I did it; I only know that I needed it and loved it. I remember a journalist interviewing trainees at the school one day asking if they were doing it to become teachers. No one simply replied “yes”. Most explained that they were doing it because they needed the work for themselves. Yet, we weren’t a group of cripples – we would not have been accepted as trainees if we had not been capable of becoming teachers. Indeed, not all did become teachers after training, and some continued training for years after they completed their 3-year STAT requirements. I remember reading an article by a journalist who asked Julliard graduates what they were doing today. Most were not making a living playing their instruments, but none regretted the years spent studying at Julliard. All felt they had benefitted greatly from their training.
From the beginning, I had hoped to become a teacher, as injuries had ended my performing career and indeed made me question my motivation to be on stage. That I forced myself to the point of serious injuries showed, perhaps, that I was not motivated to express myself artistically, but that I was doing bad work to get attention. The possibility of teaching performers to use themselves expressively and to avoid injury certainly motivated me. But first, I needed the training for myself. I had taken private lessons and they opened the door, but I knew I needed more. The more hours I spent under my teachers’ hands, the more hidden misuses were revealed. I continued private lessons with senior teachers for 10 years after I was certified to teach. The process of teaching hands-on lessons continues to help me to open up. The work is never finished.