Published 2002 164 pages
This is an account of Mackie's cello study with Pablo Casals in the 1950's and her discovery of the resonance between his teaching and the principles of the Alexander Technique, as told to Joe Armstrong. Scottish-born Mackie spent three formative years in Prades studying with Casals. Her reminiscences of those lessons form the core of the book. Many years after that career-defining period, Mackie studied and then trained to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Joe Armstrong, who also teaches the Alexander Technique, is a flautist who studied cello with Mackie as well. It is obvious from the informal tone of the writing that the two are great friends with the utmost respect for each other and the book is set up as a series of loose conversations between them. This is not to everyone's taste, however, and some feel the book would have been more effective had it omitted the many interjections of "Yes! Yes!" or "Ha Ha!" and been tightened up editorially. However, the insights into Casals' teaching style and Mackie's deepening understanding of music as art are thought-provoking and fascinating.
At the close of the book, Mackie includes an excellent introductory article to the Alexander Technique. Well worth reading for every cellist, or for any musician really.