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#454924 - 02/19/02 03:28 PM Taubman method  
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 152
LudwigVanB Offline
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LudwigVanB  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 152
Atlanta
Is anyone here familiar with, or utilizes the Dorothy Taubman method? After two years as
an adult student, I started taking lessons from a lady who turned to the Taubman method
after decades as a concert pianist to prevent injuries. Now she teaches it religiously. I had
never experienced injury but she is trying to get me to switch to the Taubman method
playing scales and transfer this to music. It is driving me crazy trying to get use to it and I
would like to know if it is helpful, not just to prevent injuries but, does it make a better
sound as she insists? It is not easy to explain the technique but essentially you keep your
wrist and fingers relaxed over the keys and to strike a note you rotate the forearm all the
way to the elbow which causes the hand and fingers to strike a key. Any feedback would
be greatly appreciated since my practice has ground to a snail's pace trying to learn this technique!
Tom

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#454925 - 02/19/02 04:26 PM Re: Taubman method  
Joined: May 2001
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BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline

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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 20,334
Victoria, BC
Tom:

I don't know the Dorothy Taubman method and am therefore not qualified to make any specific comment on it. However, I will say this: We need to keep in mind, given the limitless variants in physiological responses and reactions to any given physical activity, that what works perfectly for one, may work less well for others and - perhaps - not at all for some.

Either the Taubman method suits you - physically and intellectually - or it doesn't, and you shouldn't be forced into it if the latter is the case. If it doesn't "work" for you after giving it a fair trial (what's a fair trial, in this case?), I would not think it totally outlandish to consider another teacher.

Just my (brainless?) penny's worth...

Regards,

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: BruceD ]


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#454926 - 02/19/02 05:16 PM Re: Taubman method  
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MacDuff Offline
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MacDuff  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 560
Southeast, U.S.A.
Taubman was influenced by Tobias Matthay, an English technical theorist who did much to promote the concept of forearm rotation.

I had teachers who gravitated to the Tobias Matthay school of thought. They hardly ever directly taught this technique, but when I read one of Matthay's books, THE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE IN PIANOFORTE TECHNIQUE for piano pedagogy class, it actually made sense.

Matthay emphasizes that these rotational forces should normally be quite SLIGHT and SUBTLE in backing up finger action.

[ February 19, 2002: Message edited by: MacDuff ]

#454927 - 02/19/02 05:26 PM Re: Taubman method  
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JS Offline
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JS  Offline
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Lubbock, TX
I like Taubman's ideas, and her core philosophy on movement shares a great deal with other schools of thought (in parts of Russia, for example, and in Matthay's work) on technique.

I have, however, heard the criticism that people who have done a lot of Taubman tend to be more relaxed and almost unfocused in their playing. On the other hand, a lot of people who don't pay attention to economy of motion, alignment, and weight issues occasionally sound harsh and tense.

Inasmuch as Taubman helps students play with a greater sense of ease and security, it of course enhances the quality of the music, and it can free up the sound in some cases.

I'm curious - what technical approach were you taking before?

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#454928 - 02/20/02 10:47 AM Re: Taubman method  
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LudwigVanB Offline
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LudwigVanB  Offline
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Atlanta
My technique before was "doing whatever comes natural". My teacher then said nothing about hand position, arm movement, etc. One thing that bothers me about any technique is Glenn Gould. He developed his own technique and it broke all the rules. His was a finger technique which my teacher says is wrong. Never "reach" for the keys, always rotate the fingers up and down from the elbow. I am convinced, however, that playing with ease is absolutely essential to good piano playing and so if it promotes that I will stick with it for at least several more months. Thanks for all your feedback.

#454929 - 02/20/02 11:37 AM Re: Taubman method  
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ZeldaHanson Offline
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ZeldaHanson  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 276
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Quote
Originally posted by LugwidVanB:
One thing that bothers me about any technique is Glenn Gould. He developed his own technique and it broke all the rules. His was a finger technique which my teacher says is wrong. Never "reach" for the keys, always rotate the fingers up and down from the elbow. I am convinced, however, that playing with ease is absolutely essential to good piano playing and so if it promotes that I will stick with it for at least several more months.



And Glenn did play with ease, with complete comfort and brilliance; that is why his technique was not in any way or sort wrong...
What he did was out of the ordinary, no doubt, but everything he did was good quality uniqueness.

In Josef Hofmann's piano playing book he mentioned the famous quote Rubenstein told him about correct fingering and movement:

"Play it with your nose, but make it sound well!"

Glenn made it sound beyond well. So your teacher was the one who was wrong in saying what she/he did about Glenn's technique.

Zeldah


Glenn Gould in regards to music:

The problem begins when one forgets the artificiality of it all, when one neglects to pay homage to those designations that to our minds-to our reflect senses, perhaps-make of music an analyzable commodity. The trouble begins when we start to become so impressed by the strategies of ours systematized thought that we forget that it does relate to an obverse, that it is hewn from negation, that it is but a very small security against the void of negation which surrounds it.
#454930 - 02/20/02 12:21 PM Re: Taubman method  
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 306
JS Offline
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JS  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 306
Lubbock, TX
Actually, Glenn didn't really develop his own technique. His teacher, Alberto Guerro, had some particular kinds of exercises which Glenn practiced, and Glenn points to both that and his organ studies as the primary influences on his technical style.

I don't feel that it's right to call Gould's technique "wrong." We can look at the externals and criticize them, but the real domain of piano technique is in the invisible workings of the muscles and tendons. What may look relaxed and natural may not be at all; and what may feel relaxed and natural may feel so to us only because we haven't been led to explore other dimensions of movement. I can't count the number of times I've told a student they're tense only to have them not believe me. Then just a light tug on the arm proves them wrong.


Quote
Originally posted by LugwidVanB:
My technique before was "doing whatever comes natural". My teacher then said nothing about hand position, arm movement, etc. One thing that bothers me about any technique is Glenn Gould. He developed his own technique and it broke all the rules. His was a finger technique which my teacher says is wrong. Never "reach" for the keys, always rotate the fingers up and down from the elbow. I am convinced, however, that playing with ease is absolutely essential to good piano playing and so if it promotes that I will stick with it for at least several more months. Thanks for all your feedback.

#454931 - 02/20/02 12:36 PM Re: Taubman method  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 5,590
Brendan Online content
Brendan  Online Content


Joined: May 2001
Posts: 5,590
McAllen, TX
Quote
Originally posted by LugwidVanB:
My technique before was "doing whatever comes natural". My teacher then said nothing about hand position, arm movement, etc. One thing that bothers me about any technique is Glenn Gould. He developed his own technique and it broke all the rules. His was a finger technique which my teacher says is wrong. Never "reach" for the keys, always rotate the fingers up and down from the elbow. I am convinced, however, that playing with ease is absolutely essential to good piano playing and so if it promotes that I will stick with it for at least several more months. Thanks for all your feedback.



I sort of agree. Granted, every hand is different and everyone's technique fits them and no one else, but there are certain basic precepts that most people can benifit from (circular arm motions reducing tension, breathing out while playing softly so the lack of respiration doesn't lead to a thin, tense dynamic, etc.). Even then, there isn't an exact, undeniable set of rules. For example, when I have to play repeated octaves, I like to push down from my shoulder because (for my technique) it takes less effort. Other people like to control it more from the wrist.

With Gould, the one thing that always bothered me was how high he raised his shoulders; it was always uncomfortable to watch and I wondered why he never had back problems because of it.

One thing that I struggled with was too much relaxation. I didn't feel really committed to the music if every inch of my body wasn't in it, and the relaxed sound that I was getting started to sound boring. A degree of tension is always necessary; not too much to impede physical movement, but enough to ensure that you are doing more than just playing the notes.

#454932 - 02/23/02 06:54 AM Re: Taubman method  
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LudwigVanB Offline
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LudwigVanB  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 152
Atlanta
"One thing that I struggled with was too much relaxation. I didn't feel really committed to the music if every inch of my body wasn't in it, and the relaxed sound that I was getting started to sound boring. A degree of tension is always necessary; not too much to impede physical movement, but enough to ensure that you are doing more than just playing the notes." Brendan

This is really interesting. I am trying to figure out how much relaxation there is supposed to be and when do you cross the line to too much. I think I am beginning to realize what I really need is a kind of controlled relaxation, or perhaps relaxation in the body but not so much in the mind. I have just started trying to play Bach's Prelude in C Major (the simple one) and it seems to me there is a lot of effort to play it smoothly and relaxed so that it sounds musical. In other words, it doesn't work to just play it relaxed. Something more is involved here.

#454933 - 02/23/02 11:03 AM Re: Taubman method  
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JBryan Offline
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JBryan  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 9,798
Oklahoma City
If your audience begins to snore than you may be too relaxed. If YOU begin to snore then you can be certain of it. smile


Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness. :t:

Moderated by  Brendan, Kreisler 

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