Learn or be instructed?

Habits are created to automate our lives, to make it easier to do more. Whether that’s tying our shoelaces, or running up and down a scale. We need automation for when we need to play or move fast.  Which in itself isn’t a problem.

However, it becomes problematic when we create difficulties through layers of adaptive behaviours, on top of one another. When we lose simplicity of action, when we can’t sense what we’re doing, or how we’re doing it.

The nature of teaching or learning  a musical instrument (or anything else) has this problem inherently. We are very often asked as young pupils to subjugate our sense of self, in order to take on someone else’s ideas of what we should be doing.

And yet as mature adults (and mature musicians) we need to have an internal authority. A belief in ourselves, what we think, feel and hear. For many of us, we need to relearn this, or hone the skill of internal 

I am often asked by 1-2-1 clients what I think of their posture, or even technique. As people who have been taught, we are used to being told what to do, what to change. But as a Feldenkrais teacher, this special kind of  movement expert, my job is not to tell them. Because it needs to come from within. My job is to help them feel it for themselves.

The sense of achievement that comes with self-discovery is empowering. It’s not the same as when someone tells you how something works. That this bit of over-efforting isn’t necessary, or that sensation can be different, or there can be a different understanding of how things work. When it comes from you, it’s your learning, your discovery. As a teacher, it’s exciting to be part of that change, or shift, watch people learn more self knowledge, and with it more confidence or self belief. 

I had some of my final sessions with a long-term 1-2-1 client recently. She originally came to me to look at the physical manifestations of anxiety, which were causing problems throughout her life. Over the course of our sessions we talked and worked on many facets of her physical, emotional and mental world.  It was a privilege to see her change, and blossom, really step into who she is and wants to be as a person, without fear of rejection or failure. To learn healthy boundaries, and take her own space. It was a moment of pride for me when she knew she didn’t need me any more, she was going to be fine on her own. 

It reminded me of some of Moshe Feldenkrais’ words:

“I am going to be your last teacher. Not because I’ll be the greatest teacher you may ever encounter, but because from me you will learn how to learn. When you learn how to learn, you will realize that there are no teachers, that there are only people learning, and people learning how to facilitate learning.” 

Movement is the basic building block of how we learn. When you move better, you feel better,  play or sing better. It really is that simple. 

In our lessons, we learn neuroscience based strategies to reduce stress or anxiety. Movement strategies that you can bring into your every day, for more understanding from the inside out. If you’re interested to find out how it would be to work with me individually, send me an email

People who attend my classes find that a weekly lesson offers an hour away from the outside world, to spend time building resources in yourself. To calm down our highly stimulated nervous systems, and find repose – learning to find in space to help us respond, rather than react. To find out more visit the classes page.

One thought on “Learn or be instructed?

  1. Pingback: Our nervous system

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