Walter Carrington 1915-2005
People imagine that their bodies are disobedient and unreliable in carrying out their wishes, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
This was a picture I took when Walter was riding regularly at Danny Pevner's. I think it conveys very well the amazing posture Walter had. The horse is called Badger. A fine man on a fine horse. Those who were privileged to be taught by Walter would vouch for the fact that he used the Alexander Technique to the full. He was 87 in the photo. According to Danny he started riding in his 50s.
That is the message that Walter loved to espouse. That using the technique enhanced your learning ability. My experience of this was the same. I tried all my life to learn the flute and for some reason I just could not get it. When I started training I decided I needed to test this theory. Everyday at break time I would sneak into one of the many teaching rooms at Lansdowne road, cup of tea in hand, Alexander Technique very much in mind and start to teach myself the flute.
After a few weeks of never before heard of success I decided to get myself a flute teacher. By
the end of my training I think I had tried several different flute teachers.
The strangest thing was that although these teachers were very good, the best ‘Flute' lesson I
had was with Walter. He could not play a single instrument. One day he said to me when we were due to have a private lesson "Bring your flute Nick".
I was of course very excited and had a great sense even then that this was a rare treat,
though I had no idea of how profound an influence he would really have on me, on my flute playing and on my approach to learning anything from that time onwards.
After the lesson I went down to the teaching room where I had often practiced. I followed his instructions and without a doubt I played the best flute I ever had to that day. It was strange to imagine that a non flute player could help me play better flute, better even than the flute teachers.
That was Walter though a genius that we were all very lucky to have had in our lives. If you
get the chance to read anything by or about Walter Carrington and his work read it!
-Nick Chapman 21st October 2005
By Nicholas Chapman MSTAT
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