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Foreword
Lesson 01
Lesson 02
Lesson 03
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Lesson 05
Lesson 06
Lesson 07
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Lesson 09
Lesson 10
Lesson 11
Lesson 12
Octaves
Sight Reading

 
Foreword
Foreword:

When thought is directed to the movement of any muscle, the development of that muscle is accentuated in consequence. If a man determines to develop, for instance, a biceps muscle and simply fulfils the exercises prescribed by working that muscle according to directions given, his mind being on other things, the muscle does not develop so rapidly as if he concentrated his attention on that muscle. There can be no doubt about this fact because it has been subjected to careful experiment, and the difference between merely mechanical movement, and movement with thought concentration, is all in favour of the latter. Not long ago an instance was given of a Hindu, who is reputed to be the strongest man in the world, so far as weightlifting in concerned. He was able to lift these weights, not because his muscle was greater than that of the average weightlifter, but because, in developing his strength, he had concentrated his mind on the muscle to be developed.

This principle applied to the exercise of the system that you are learning is of the utmost importance. When practising prescribed exercises, concentrate your mind upon the operation. You will not only develop strength and flexibility of the member more rapidly, but the after-effects will be more certain.

IMPORTANT: It should be emphasised that no quick movements are involved in these exercises; the action should be slow and deliberate, avoiding any tendency to over-do. You will have the right idea if you operate as though pulling against a weak spring - if you think of a strong spring you will be applying too much resistance.

Carefully read the following pages, with the photos spread our before you in proper rotation, but do not attempt the actual exercise until you thoroughly understand what is intended.

It will be observed that these exercises commence with simple movements of one hand, assisted by the other hand. These movements do not usually present any difficulty, and after the third position is reached the service of the other hand is dispensed with.

Some students have difficulty in performing these latter movements correctly, and to such we would say, persevere for two or three days, doing the best you can, after which it should be possible to place the fingers approximately as in photographs 5 and 6. At the end of the week most students are able to execute the final movements without the practice of the preliminary ones, although the fourth (little) finger may be troublesome.


(Editor's note: the two pictures shown on this page are scans of the originals, to show the quality and format of duplicated photographs sent out by the Cowling Institute. These are two of the better photos received in 1974, many are too poor to be of any real use. The photographs in the lessons are reshoots as close as I can get to the originals, of my own left hand.)

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