Posted by Mariana Scaravilli on Aug 6, 2017


Dear Crafty,

Many thanks for taking such an interest in the AAD work, and I am always available when you need me. You write:

By doing nothing here, from what I understand, it becomes more a case of  "allowing" the wrist to return. The question then arose, whether one could say that this "allowing" is, in fact, directing a natural reflex of the wrist, which is performing the movement "for you", if you like? Any subsequent, non-initiating release, then is just a further consequence of the reflex.

This allowing is not directing, it is allowing! In your student’s words, this is allowing the wrist to perform the movement for us, while we are holding a pick. We direct the hand to the particular guitar string, and then – release it!

Something like, when we are riding a bicycle, we pay attention to pushing down on the pedal. We do not put our concern into directing the foot to rise afterwards – the returning foot seems to take care of itself. The analogy is not exact: in cycling, we put effort into the down-pedal; and the returning pedal, driven by the other foot pushing down, lifts the first foot. But the sense of return is very close. (Alexander himself learnt to cycle by watching cyclists, then mounted a bicycle for the first time and rode away!).

With the down stroke, the very words imply an effort that is, properly, not made: the wrist is released, and then it returns. That we are holding a pick, that the hand is placed on the guitar, is seemingly irrelevant to the quality of motion.

The craft of craft is down stroke: we direct the action and do something. This is functional.

The art of craft is release: effortless effort. We do nothing, and while we are doing nothing, a string is picked, a note is played, and then the hand returns to where it was. This is qualitative.

Saturday 22nd. February, 2007


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