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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: jdw] #2720646
03/12/18 08:42 AM
03/12/18 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jdw
I think you and Bennevis are right that it does not address rotation in the Taubman sense (boy, do I hate to say that! but honesty compels me).
Thanks for that but I think the article does more. Where does the article's rotation fit in with Taubman?

Originally Posted by jdw

Also, BTW, I had not seen your additional snide post before writing this. Some of us have other things to do of a Sunday!
It was Saturday here.

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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: chopin_r_us] #2720666
03/12/18 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Originally Posted by jdw
I think you and Bennevis are right that it does not address rotation in the Taubman sense (boy, do I hate to say that! but honesty compels me).
Thanks for that but I think the article does more. Where does the article's rotation fit in with Taubman?

Originally Posted by jdw

Also, BTW, I had not seen your additional snide post before writing this. Some of us have other things to do of a Sunday!
It was Saturday here.


Saturday, Sunday, any day, there is life outside the Piano Forum!

I do not have time to look back at the article right now, but I do not see any inconsistency between the motion it describes and the forearm rotation that is involved in playing the piano.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: asb37] #2720672
03/12/18 11:18 AM
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Perhaps when you get the time. It's just I believe I've heard of Taubman micro-movements in this thread and I'd like to know how they fit in with the 'passive' rotation of finger joints.

Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: jdw] #2720686
03/12/18 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jdw
Originally Posted by chopin_r_us

'Two additional degrees of freedom defined wrist rotation, which was not considered in our analysis.' Your wife may be a physician but one can only assume she doesn't play the piano.


You're mistaken about that; he takes lessons from a Taubman teacher, actually. He finds it fascinating and (of course) completely consistent with the study of anatomy.

However, in fairness to him, I should say that he has not had an opportunity to review the article in question...


Since your husband is in Philadelphia, he likely has had some lessons from Robert Durso. Robert is a Co-Founder of the Golandsky Institute and a suberb instructor.

One could argue that the "system" is some combination of the Taubman technique & a very small pool of highly-trained instructors (see the Golandsky website for bios). "Measuring" the relative importance of the technique vs the instructor is not so easy. . .

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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: asb37] #2720728
03/12/18 02:30 PM
03/12/18 02:30 PM
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The approved term seems to be "Taubman Approach."


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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: newer player] #2720801
03/12/18 06:49 PM
03/12/18 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by newer player


Since your husband is in Philadelphia, he likely has had some lessons from Robert Durso. Robert is a Co-Founder of the Golandsky Institute and a suberb instructor.

One could argue that the "system" is some combination of the Taubman technique & a very small pool of highly-trained instructors (see the Golandsky website for bios). "Measuring" the relative importance of the technique vs the instructor is not so easy. . .


Yes, he is wonderful. I am extraordinarily lucky to have him as my teacher. As an amateur I am kind of an outlier in his studio, as he teaches mostly professional and pre-professional musicians. My husband studies with one of his students.

I know they are working really hard at the Golandsky Institute to train more teachers. It's a slow process. I think people can gain benefits for their own playing relatively quickly, but it takes a long time to learn to teach it effectively.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: asb37] #2721051
03/14/18 05:54 AM
03/14/18 05:54 AM
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[Sorry, I didn't read all the previous posts, maybe that point was already mentioned. But I feel that I should write about it.]

What amazes me in the theories of some piano theoretists like Dorothy Taubman, is a strong belief that there is ONE (magical) technique that suits all kinds of music, all kinds of hands and that is used by every top class pianist, but it is so secret that nobody ever tells about it.

I don't know what pianists and music styles were observed by Dorothy Taubman to make her conclusions, but doesn't this idea seem stupid in its core?

I was taught that every kind of music requires different technique. For example, when playing Rachmaninov you need to put in all the weight of your arms. But when playing Bach you should rely mostly on finger technique. Prokofiev's music requires extreme finger technique with almost percussive stroke. But the music of Debussy requires "weightful" technique with very light touch and almost flying wrists. This all now seems very obvious to me.

The idea of one technique, e.g. playing mostly by forearm rotation, that should dominate all music styles seems so weird to me that I can hardly take it seriously.

And certainly all hands and arms are different. One type of motion that seems very appropriate for someone may not be suitable for another person. I believe that the thicker and heavier the forearm is, the harder it is to play by rotation, because of inertia, and the harsher tone is produced by rotation.

And finally, even if top class pianists utilize some degree of rotation on every stroke (I doubt that, but let's suppose it is true), they obviously don't do it consciously, because none of them AFAIR ever mentioned such training. So there is no reason to introduce conscious rotational movement in every stroke. Everyone who does so, in my opinion, risks developing an unusual, weird proprioceptional model that was not proven to be in any way superior, but is likely to hinder learning other types of technique.

That's what I wanted to say.

Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2721070
03/14/18 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
[Sorry, I didn't read all the previous posts, maybe that point was already mentioned. But I feel that I should write about it.]

What amazes me in the theories of some piano theoretists like Dorothy Taubman, is a strong belief that there is ONE (magical) technique that suits all kinds of music, all kinds of hands and that is used by every top class pianist, but it is so secret that nobody ever tells about it.

I don't know what pianists and music styles were observed by Dorothy Taubman to make her conclusions, but doesn't this idea seem stupid in its core?

I was taught that every kind of music requires different technique. For example, when playing Rachmaninov you need to put in all the weight of your arms. But when playing Bach you should rely mostly on finger technique. Prokofiev's music requires extreme finger technique with almost percussive stroke. But the music of Debussy requires "weightful" technique with very light touch and almost flying wrists. This all now seems very obvious to me.

The idea of one technique, e.g. playing mostly by forearm rotation, that should dominate all music styles seems so weird to me that I can hardly take it seriously.

And certainly all hands and arms are different. One type of motion that seems very appropriate for someone may not be suitable for another person. I believe that the thicker and heavier the forearm is, the harder it is to play by rotation, because of inertia, and the harsher tone is produced by rotation.

And finally, even if top class pianists utilize some degree of rotation on every stroke (I doubt that, but let's suppose it is true), they obviously don't do it consciously, because none of them AFAIR ever mentioned such training. So there is no reason to introduce conscious rotational movement in every stroke. Everyone who does so, in my opinion, risks developing an unusual, weird proprioceptional model that was not proven to be in any way superior, but is likely to hinder learning other types of technique.

That's what I wanted to say.


I think the reason the Taubman teachers prefer the term "approach" rather than "technique" is to avoid being misunderstood in this way. However, I can understand why the terminology doesn't really help people understand what the Taubman people are doing from a distance.

Taubman teaching does not advocate having rotation dominate the technique. Rotation is just a starting point for analyzing the different components of efficient movement. The player is not conscious of the rotation at speed, whether Taubman-trained or not. But sorting out that motion analytically (as well as the other components, depending on what may be missing) really can free the player to develop more fluid and effective technique. I know that it's counter-intuitive and that my saying so won't convince you, but that's the reality in my experience.

Taubman is also not a "one size fits all" approach, which is one reason why learning to teach it is so complex. Every pianist has different needs for maximizing the potential of their technique, so the work is very individualized.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2721118
03/14/18 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
[Sorry, I didn't read all the previous posts, maybe that point was already mentioned. But I feel that I should write about it.]

What amazes me in the theories of some piano theoretists like Dorothy Taubman, is a strong belief that there is ONE (magical) technique that suits all kinds of music, all kinds of hands and that is used by every top class pianist, but it is so secret that nobody ever tells about it.

I don't know what pianists and music styles were observed by Dorothy Taubman to make her conclusions, but doesn't this idea seem stupid in its core?

I was taught that every kind of music requires different technique. For example, when playing Rachmaninov you need to put in all the weight of your arms. But when playing Bach you should rely mostly on finger technique. Prokofiev's music requires extreme finger technique with almost percussive stroke. But the music of Debussy requires "weightful" technique with very light touch and almost flying wrists. This all now seems very obvious to me.

The idea of one technique, e.g. playing mostly by forearm rotation, that should dominate all music styles seems so weird to me that I can hardly take it seriously.

And certainly all hands and arms are different. One type of motion that seems very appropriate for someone may not be suitable for another person. I believe that the thicker and heavier the forearm is, the harder it is to play by rotation, because of inertia, and the harsher tone is produced by rotation.

And finally, even if top class pianists utilize some degree of rotation on every stroke (I doubt that, but let's suppose it is true), they obviously don't do it consciously, because none of them AFAIR ever mentioned such training. So there is no reason to introduce conscious rotational movement in every stroke. Everyone who does so, in my opinion, risks developing an unusual, weird proprioceptional model that was not proven to be in any way superior, but is likely to hinder learning other types of technique.

That's what I wanted to say.


This is a very interesting post; thank you for taking the time to post here Vasiliev.

Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2721139
03/14/18 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev


I was taught that every kind of music requires different technique. For example, when playing Rachmaninov you need to put in all the weight of your arms. But when playing Bach you should rely mostly on finger technique. Prokofiev's music requires extreme finger technique with almost percussive stroke. But the music of Debussy requires "weightful" technique with very light touch and almost flying wrists. This all now seems very obvious to me.



Just to add, since I was in a hurry earlier and didn't address this part of your post. Of course you are right that different types of music require different types of touch--but all within the boundaries of a healthy coordination of the different elements of movement.

I'm sure most pianists and teachers do strive for a healthy balance, but to me the huge contribution of Taubman is the ability to diagnose the specific physical sources of technical problems or limitations. It's an approach based on analysis (rotation being one of the basic components)--but the purpose of taking things apart is to have everything work better when you put it all back together. Then the player is free to adjust the balance to the needs of various different types of music.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2721423
03/15/18 12:27 PM
03/15/18 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
And certainly all hands and arms are different. One type of motion that seems very appropriate for someone may not be suitable for another person. I believe that the thicker and heavier the forearm is, the harder it is to play by rotation, because of inertia, and the harsher tone is produced by rotation.

There was a ton of misinformation in your post, but this one stood out in its awfulness.

Immediately prior to my Taubman re-training, I was immersed in the "Russian school" playing, complete with weight training exercises and finger independence exercises and etudes up the wazoo. And the teacher taught me "rotation" in the roughest sense possible. I ended up with extreme tension from the shoulder to fingertips. I brought up the issue with the teacher, and the only instruction I got was to rest, stretch, and power through the tension passages.

Then, after re-training, I realized all that "rotation" stuff I learned from the previous teacher was based on incorrect information. I had not yet achieved alignment. And all the previous "rotation" I was doing was completely out of control and out of alignment. The re-training process allowed my elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers to sync up, to move in a coordinated fashion.

The result is not harsher tone. In fact, the best thing about Taubman re-training is that my tone is now even, consistent, and under control.


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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: AZNpiano] #2721477
03/15/18 03:02 PM
03/15/18 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
And certainly all hands and arms are different. One type of motion that seems very appropriate for someone may not be suitable for another person. I believe that the thicker and heavier the forearm is, the harder it is to play by rotation, because of inertia, and the harsher tone is produced by rotation.

There was a ton of misinformation in your post, but this one stood out in its awfulness.

Immediately prior to my Taubman re-training, I was immersed in the "Russian school" playing, complete with weight training exercises and finger independence exercises and etudes up the wazoo. And the teacher taught me "rotation" in the roughest sense possible. I ended up with extreme tension from the shoulder to fingertips. I brought up the issue with the teacher, and the only instruction I got was to rest, stretch, and power through the tension passages.

Then, after re-training, I realized all that "rotation" stuff I learned from the previous teacher was based on incorrect information. I had not yet achieved alignment. And all the previous "rotation" I was doing was completely out of control and out of alignment. The re-training process allowed my elbow, forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers to sync up, to move in a coordinated fashion.

The result is not harsher tone. In fact, the best thing about Taubman re-training is that my tone is now even, consistent, and under control.


And in my experience, you actually learn the "timing" such that it allows the fingers to actually be able to work under ideal conditions. You feel that you have perfect control over them no matter how fast the passage is and yet still have it be "inside" of the total coordination of the body that relates to phrase rhythm.

There isn't two, three, or four separate techniques.

Schenker's motto applies here: Semper idem sed non eodem modo ("Always the same, but not always in the same way").

There's one coordinated, underlying technique that you can manipulate in different proportions so that you can get any sound you want on every note within different levels of local or global contexts. Not just every "composer", "style", or even "piece". In any case, it should also go without saying that a good physical technique is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for all of this.

Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: anamnesis] #2721498
03/15/18 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by anamnesis
There's one coordinated, underlying technique that you can manipulate in different proportions so that you can get any sound you want on every note within different levels of local or global contexts. Not just every "composer", "style", or even "piece". In any case, it should also go without saying that a good physical technique is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for all of this.

Do you teach at the college level? You said everything I tried to say, but better.


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Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: chopin_r_us] #2722011
03/17/18 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Perhaps when you get the time. It's just I believe I've heard of Taubman micro-movements in this thread and I'd like to know how they fit in with the 'passive' rotation of finger joints.


Having leisure to revisit these articles, I don’t think either of them has findings relevant to the forearm rotation identified by Taubman.

The article I linked to confused me at first, because their use of the term “rotation” is so different from how a pianist or even an anatomist would see it. As I understand it now, they drew an axis across the hand and measured movement in relation to that axis as rotation—so that even movements that we would call dropping or curling of a finger are termed rotation of the joint. As you noted, they looked only at the hand and didn't measure movements that involved the wrist and forearm.

In the article on "passive rotation" I don't really see relevance either. In the experiment they held the hand motionless and measured how far they could wiggle each finger around an axis running through the finger. They were interested in showing how the hand adjusts itself to different shapes in gripping. So I guess you're speculating that a joint might also wiggle in this way when it strikes a piano key. I don't know whether it does or not. But if it did, I don't see how it would affect the forearm rotation, which is initiated long before the finger strikes a key.

So, not much light shed here.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: asb37] #2722017
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Thanks for taking the time to read and summarize. I still think the 'wiggle' has relevance. I know breaking in the nail joint takes about 1/16 of a second (Ortmann) and is therefore disadvantageous to accurate playing. I think perhaps the tendency to 'wiggle' may well have a similar deleterious effect on each rotational act.

Re: Does the Taubman method work? [Re: asb37] #2723835
03/23/18 07:26 PM
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Just to give another perspective....

Especially with regards to the relative importance of method vs teachers
Quote
One could argue that the "system" is some combination of the Taubman technique & a very small pool of highly-trained instructors (see the Golandsky website for bios


I have for a long time felt that my technique is severely lacking (able to play some intermediate pieces badly, chopin ballade for example). I should probably seek out a teacher, but instead I looked around the internet and tried out what looked interesting.

I watched the taubman dvds (at least some of them...), read a bit about it, watched a few of golandskys youtube vids (and actually read through a dissertation on taubman technique by some australian woman). In a few weeks it has completely changed how it feels to play (for the better). And more importantly - what feeling I'm looking for (in the hand-arm).

So the idea that you need to go to a certified Taubman teacher to understand "the mysterious system" seems to me very exaggerated. You just have to try it out for a while. And on the contrary it seems extremely well documented. What other schools of piano technique have 20-hour dvd sets, dedicated streaming and youtube channels, and so on?

I think part of the resistance comes from the impression that the technique consists of doing these exaggerated rotations all the time when you play, and that just seems weird. But Golandsky states over and over that the rotations will not be visible when you actually play, say, a scale (apart from certain siutations).

If they are not visible, you are not "doing" them in manner that the exaggerated demonstrations might give the impression of. In a sense, since they are not visible, you are not doing them at all. But your experience of shifting weight, balance, and finding alignment changes.

It seems to that the focus on "rotation" might in itself actually give the wrong idea of the "method". Rotations might be useful in all sorts of situations. The purpose of the exaggerated rotations on every note, however, is to give a certain experience of what it means to be in alignment.

In one video they use the metaphor of sports. If you are not very good at tennis, but could be inside the body of Federer fo a few seconds, that would tremendously helpful, since you then know what kind of experience you are aiming for in your practice.

Through the rotation-practice you acquire a very specific sense of what Taubman-alignment is (and achieving it is dependent on timing). You can then aim for this experience in all sorts of situations.

To me it has very little in common with arm weight playing, if understand that correctly, and more to do with skeletal aligment. You kind of feel in it your bones. You can play with full arm weight and be totally out of alignment (in the taubman sense, but probably in alignment in some other sense)

For example - another "method" I tried a while was Emma Leiuman on youtube. She graduated in Russia, and teaches a kind of arm weight technique with a very loose and flexible wrist, and has a whole system for how the wrist should move. That also obviously works very well, she is a phenomenal pianist. It is just a way of using arm weight that is completely different from the taubman approach.

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