Peter Bloch is the lead teacher at MATTS.
Private Teaching Practice
Peter offers private lessons at his practice in Wilmslow from Tuesday to Saturday each week during term time and some weeks outside term time.
You can find full details on Peter's website.
I had my first Alexander Technique lessons as a postgraduate student at the University of Exeter. I was referred for lessons by my classical singing teacher who had had lessons at the Guildhall School of Music as a student and found them to be a tremendous help for singers. The lessons at first made little difference to my singing (this is quite unusual) but a tremendous difference to the chronic neck pain, back pain and stress with which I was afflicted (this is usual!).
A few months and many lessons later, and in response to my obvious enthusiasm, my teacher suggested that I visit the Carringtons' training course for teachers in London. Walter Carrington had trained with FM Alexander in the 1930s and had continued to assist Alexander on his training course until the end of his life in 1955. By the end of the morning I had filled out the application form and joined the waiting list for a place. At first I intended to finish my PhD (Classics/Ancient History), but my heart was no longer in it; I knew what I really wanted to do.
Being young and male (there were rather more female candidates) was a great advantage with the Carringtons' waiting list and so I only had to wait 2½ years for a place instead of the usual 5. I spent this time having as many lessons I could with all the teachers I could travel to who had trained with Alexander (“first generation” teachers) and two ‘unofficial’ terms of training by shuttling around the three training courses then open in Israel.
After my training I came into the Carrington training course regularly as a junior teacher and also at Robin Simmons’s and Jean Clark’s course in Hampstead. I quickly built up a large private practice, all the while continuing my own studies, mostly with teachers who had trained with Alexander.
After six years teaching in London, in 1993 we moved to Cheshire and I again quickly built up a large private practice as well as teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester giving individual lessons to students in the wind and percussion department and group classes for singers. I continued postgraduate studies with first generation teachers throughout this period, travelling to London regularly for individual lessons.
During this period I organised frequent meetings for AT teachers from all over the north-west and in 1998 I organised a major conference for teachers that attracted nearly 300 delegates and which featured six of the nine surviving first generation teachers in the world. I also organised numerous smaller events and workshops and led workshops for teachers and students and led a great many Adult Education courses throughout the region.
In 2001 I assisted Malcolm Williamson in the setting up of the new Manchester Alexander Technique Training School (MATTS) and was assistant director of the course for five years. Many of the early (and subsequent) graduates of the course had previously been my private students and many of these are now regular teachers at MATTS.
In 2011 I was the sole teacher for a large pilot study on the efficacy of the Alexander Technique for Knee Osteoarthritis, with extraordinary results. I was involved at all stages of planning and publishing of the study as well in the subsequent application for a major grant from Arthritis UK for a large, randomised study, a competitive process in which we were finalists but unfortunately not successful.
When MATTS closed temporarily in October 2017, I started a weekly class on Thursdays. Originally conceived as ongoing support for new teachers, the class quickly grew to become a regional hub for teachers and experienced students, regularly attracting large numbers, several of whom travelled many hours to attend each week. As the class grew, so did the interest of several of the regular students in training as teachers, and so from early September 2019 we started an additional class on Wednesday mornings to allow potential trainee teachers to experience a training course environment. We had intended to re-open MATTS as a full time training course in April 2020 with 10 students – just in time for the pandemic! However, we continued to train some of these students part time through a mixture of individual lessons when permitted and online classes and re-opened as a full-time training course for teachers in April 2021.
As well as leading MATTS and running a busy private practice, I continue my own studies; for example, regularly travelling to London to study with Joan and Alex Murray who trained as teachers in the 1950s and 1960s.
Peter Bloch, March 2020, updated November 2021