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Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky

Posted By: 88slowpoke

Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/04/13 09:25 PM

Do any beginners out there learning on their own without a teacher have any experience with these videos? I've found some good reports, as well as a raspberry or two, but the excerpts seem encouraging. Since they are quite expensive, some feedback from forum members would be greatly appreciated.

They do seem to contradict the standard advice, e.g. to hold your hands as if holding a ball or bubble. So, who's right?
Posted By: Derulux

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/04/13 09:41 PM

I think some of the things discussed, like the "ball", are semantics. They're saying the same thing, but using different language in order to get their precise meaning across. Sometimes, pretending to hold a ball can lead students to "grip" like they would grip a ball they were holding. I think that's immediately noticeable and easily corrected, but that's just a really simple example.

I don't know if I ever brought it up in this forum, but I did study with Bob Durso in Philly for 5 years. Best experience I ever had with the piano, and the fastest growth as a pianist, other than the day I learned where "Middle C" was. wink

As for the "raspberries" you hear: I would say the vast majority of them come from people who have never studied with a Taubman teacher. I obviously haven't spoken to everyone who has, but I've never heard anyone who actually studied with one tell me they had a bad experience. Not even a bad day. And every one of them swears by the program.

For my part, I'm a little more reserved in my enthusiasm, not because it doesn't work--it does work--but because I tend to take a more conservative, scientific/academic approach to everything.

I'd be happy to talk in more detail about it if you want, or there are several other forum members who've studied the Taubman approach (some of whom still study with Bob, whom I mentioned earlier). Just shoot me a PM. Be happy to help. smile
Posted By: jdw

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/08/13 12:55 PM

I've had a great experience with my Taubman teacher, but I'm inclined to think it could be hard as a beginner to work just with the videos. There's some great stuff in them, but they're not really intended to address someone starting from scratch. I would put the money toward lessons with a good Taubman teacher if at all possible.

Posted By: Louis Podesta

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/08/13 01:46 PM

Shhh, and please don't tell anybody, but the Taubman tapes are available through your local library Interlibrary Loan program "ILL." And, it is FREE!

My coach is Dr. Thomas Mark, who was a Taubman practice coach, and also a student of Golandsky and Durso. His book, "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body" is one of the most recommended technique texts in the world. Thomas takes the Taubman technique to the next level by incorporating Alexander Technique principles into it.

One of the basic drawbacks of the Taubman philosophy is its over-emphasis on forearm rotation. She and Golandsky constantly use the phrase "rotate the forearm and the rest of the arm will follow." This is idiocy.

Dr. Mark teaches that the basic goal is to effortlessly move the arm, both laterally and in and out, in order to position oneself over the particular keys to be played.

Even though rotation is valuable in many situations, building one's entire technique around it can prevent a student from ever attaining any real speed at the piano, which is the standard "knock" against Taubman and Golandsky.

Finally, there is a very short beginners book available from Golandsky's website, or also through ILL.

Good luck, and if you can ever make it up to Portland OR, take a lesson from Thomas Mark and it will change your life forever!
Posted By: jdw

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/09/13 01:48 AM

I know that Mark did study with Durso. I have to admit that I haven't read his book, but I do want to clarify something based on my understanding of Taubman technique. It's true that rotation is a basic foundation, but in my experience (including work with both Durso and Golandsky) no one has ever claimed that rotation would take care of everything. In fact, the essence of Taubman technique is the integration of the various different components of coordinated movement.

Note, only the first in the 10-video series is about rotation. Others deal with such subjects as in and out movement, "walking hand and arm" (i.e. lateral and vertical movement of the arm), shaping movements of the hand, etc. I think a lot of people never get past the starting point and don't realize that there's a lot more to it. I hate to see Taubman and Golandsky blamed for people's misunderstanding of their work.

ILL for the tapes/videos is a good suggestion.
Posted By: Louis Podesta

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/09/13 06:33 AM

To 88slowpoke and all other adult beginners, I offer the following advice:

1) The first thing that is done with any major piano instruction program is the introduction to what I term "the gods." That means that you are told that this piano god or that piano god did this, studied under them, or performed this Herculian feat of wonder.

2) The next step is to introduce you to their "system," wherein if you spend roughly 20 years of your life, you will maybe be able to play the piano for friends at a party., and finally,

3) You spend the money each week, or month to attain said goal.

After all is said and done, as pointed out to me personally by Thomas Mark, learning to play the piano is nothing more than choreography of the body and the hands.

So, instead of laying out $900 on a set of unbelievably boring tapes (that will cure yours' or anyone else's insomnia), please go to your library, get the tapes, get Thomas Mark's book, and then let your own body and a whole lot of common sense do the rest.

Enclosed for your perusal is the link to the Taubman tapes website, wherein they enumerate and explain the instruction associated with each tape.

Also, www. pianomap.com is the website for Dr. Mark, which goes into extensive and well thought out detail on the logic associated with his book.

Good luck 88slowpoke, and above all, stay away from the"hype" as much as possible. It has nothing to do with learning how to play this great and wonderful instrument.

Do I use many of these aforesaid technique principles every day at the piano? Of course, I do. Do I have photographs of Dorothy Taubman, Edna Golandsky or Thomas Mark on my wall next to the piano? Of course, I do not!



Posted By: WiseBuff

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/09/13 12:11 PM

Yesterday at the 10th annual Metropolitan State University of Denver Piano Celebration, we had Robert Durso as our master class teacher. No, I didn't play in the master class, but I learned a lot from watching.

Mr. Durso attended Peabody Conservatory and has a Masters degree in from Temple. He studied with Ms. Taubman and is co-founder of the Golandsky Institute at Princeton. MORE than that however, is the practical and sensible discussion of body dynamics that he shared (evolving from Taubman). Working with 5 different performers he demonstrated with them how those principles made a musical difference to each of the 5 already excellent performances of advanced repertoire. Maybe it was his attitude of acceptance of the student and gentle inquiry into how the playing "felt" that I appreciated. Maybe it was how working on a few measures in the piece made such a difference in tone and mood.

It is a level of detail that most of us rarely attend to. I imagine the principles would be good to begin with as foundation. As one who suffers both from tension and difficulty getting a piece up to tempo, these practical points on how to make the body work effortlessly look very inviting. The thought of sitting through boring tapes doesn't do much for me but maybe a session or two with a Taubman disciple wouldn't hurt.
Posted By: jdw

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/09/13 01:36 PM

"Choreography of the Hands" is the title of a documentary on the work of Dorothy Taubman. For the curious, it's posted on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/urwyke/videos.
Posted By: keystring

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/12/13 01:02 AM

Originally Posted by 88slowpoke

They do seem to contradict the standard advice, e.g. to hold your hands as if holding a ball or bubble. So, who's right?

That advice stopped being standard a long time ago.
Posted By: Louis Podesta

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/12/13 03:15 AM


This is the difference between the logic of Thomas Mark's book, "What Every Pianist Should Know About The Body" and the mostly non-existent technique text books that are out there. And, please remember, Thomas Mark is a PhD. degreed logican philosopher out of Columbia University.

So, sitting there at your keyboard, put your two hands in your lap, and then slowly raise them up with both hands straight out equal to a plane with with your elbows. You do this with no contraction of your hands or fingers.

This is done utilizing the natural physical weigth of the the arm, forearm, and hand remaining constant. Then, look at the natural shape of your hand.

This, sitting back with a normal relaxed erect posture, with the forearm at the same geometric plane as the keypad, is the natural shape of the hand.

You do not "form" the hand, but you, instead, let the natural weight of the arm, forearm, and hand, shape the hand.

Next, as taught by Tobias Matthay, well over one hundred years ago, you articulate the fingers with no more than this kinesiology in place.

Specific, to Taubman, Golandsky, and Mark, you do not outstretch, flex, and form the hand. And you do not pronate the hand. You move your arm, position your hand over the keys, and then, utilizing the the natural weight, articulate the fingers.

Shh, all of Tobias Matthay's books are available throught ILL for free!

Posted By: Louis Podesta

Re: Dorothy Taubman/ Edna Golandsky - 02/12/13 06:36 PM

88slowpoke and all others:

My apologies for not properly entering the URL for Dr. Thomas Mark's website. It is http://www.pianomap.com.

In terms of an analysis of whole body piano technique, it is unsurpassed.

Besides, his first book, "What Every Pianist Needs To Know About The Body," he has a brand new work entitled "Motion, Emotion, and Love: The Nature of Artistic Performance."

It is a very advanced philosophical analysis/narrative relating to all aspects of piano performance.

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