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I've watched several lessons and have had a Taubmann teacher before. While it makes no sense to me, I'm hesitant to say anything against it because I know quite a few people who say it literally saved their playing. So there is obviously some value to it.


I'm also skeptical of the fact that virtually none of the Taubmann devotees have ever been seen playing themselves. What are they hiding? Where are the recordings and videos of Golandsky, Taubmann, and Kaplinsky? While nobody expects teachers to be top-level performers, there would be at least SOME evidence of performing ... a Schubert sonata or Chopin Nocturne at least. If the method really is "the solution to all pianistic problems, and playing that is the most efficient and natural", why is this not demonstrated by those who preach it??

In the meantime, many others (who Taubmann teachers ruthlessly and mercilesslsy berate and bully for playing "wrong" or "ergonomically incorrect") and are "an injury waiting to happen", playing are winning International competitions and having decade-long recording/performing careers. You can say whatever it you want, but something is not adding up.


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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I've watched several lessons and have had a Taubmann teacher before. While it makes no sense to me, I'm hesitant to say anything against it because I know quite a few people who say it literally saved their playing. So there is obviously some value to it.


I'm also skeptical of the fact that virtually none of the Taubmann devotees have ever been seen playing themselves. What are they hiding? Where are the recordings and videos of Golandsky, Taubmann, and Kaplinsky? While nobody expects teachers to be top-level performers, there would be at least SOME evidence of performing ... a Schubert sonata or Chopin Nocturne at least. If the method really is "the solution to all pianistic problems, and playing that is the most efficient and natural", why is this not demonstrated by those who preach it??

In the meantime, many others (who Taubmann teachers ruthlessly and mercilesslsy berate and bully for playing "wrong" or "ergonomically incorrect") and are "an injury waiting to happen", playing are winning International competitions and having decade-long recording/performing careers. You can say whatever it you want, but something is not adding up.



This is a common criticism, but I think one has to be fair here. Even with the knowledge that comes from the work of pedagogues like Taubman and Golandsky, being a performer is an incredibly time consuming and exhausting job. One generally doesn't have time to both teach and perform at the highest of levels. And in the case of folks who are the main proponents of these ideas like Golandsky, Taubman and others, they're too busy being the main proponents. I actually respect this greatly.

If it had been Golandsky's desire, she could have simply taken this knowledge and become a top notch performer. Instead, she's spent nearly her whole life touting these ideas to the often proud and highly skeptical market that musicians make up all because she was passionate in much the same way Taubman was about preventing the artistic loss that the world would experience due to the injury of great, or potentially great musicians:

https://youtu.be/47w_6IKHA1M?t=1m31s

Last edited by MikeN; 12/22/17 01:23 AM.
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Originally Posted by MikeN
[
If it had been Golandsky's desire, she could have simply taken this knowledge and become a top notch performer. Instead, she's spent nearly her whole life touting these ideas to the often proud and highly skeptical market that musicians make up all because she was passionate in much the same way Taubman was about preventing the artistic loss that the world would experience due to the injury of great, or potentially great musicians:

https://youtu.be/47w_6IKHA1M?t=1m31s


True. Performing and teaching at the highest level simultaneously is impossible. But we're not asking for full recital and concerto programs, just a piece or two. All other prominent teachers of the 21st century - Henrich Neuahs, Rosina Lhevine, John Perry, Seymour Bernstein, Adele Marcus (Just to name a few, who all wrote extensive texts about their work and ideas), were equally passionate about teaching and devoted their life to it, but it did not stop them performing, at least minimally.

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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted by MikeN
[
If it had been Golandsky's desire, she could have simply taken this knowledge and become a top notch performer. Instead, she's spent nearly her whole life touting these ideas to the often proud and highly skeptical market that musicians make up all because she was passionate in much the same way Taubman was about preventing the artistic loss that the world would experience due to the injury of great, or potentially great musicians:

https://youtu.be/47w_6IKHA1M?t=1m31s


True. Performing and teaching at the highest level simultaneously is impossible. But we're not asking for full recital and concerto programs, just a piece or two. All other prominent teachers of the 21st century - Henrich Neuahs, Rosina Lhevine, John Perry, Seymour Bernstein, Adele Marcus (Just to name a few, who all wrote extensive texts about their work and ideas), were equally passionate about teaching and devoted their life to it, but it did not stop them performing, at least minimally.


True, but I have to ask you? Even if they did play a couple pieces, would it really be enough to prove the value of the ideas they are teaching? I don't think it would make a difference. Sometimes entire pieces are broken down bit by bit played with the greatest of ease while demonstrating by teachers at the Golandsky Institute while the movements that make the passages successful are explained. Are they performances? No. Do they show a mastery of the passages if not a mastery of musical conception? I think so.

Also, I'll point out that I've heard of no bullying done by the teachers who teach this stuff at the highest level, though I will say I'm not actively apart of that world. I'll also say that in my experience, the pianists who win the big competitions and have long term successful careers are the ones who do more or less all the things outlined in the approach and they simply outplay the other competitiors. The 1970 International Chopin Competition is, I think, a shining example of this. Garrick Ohlsson won over Uchida moreso by way of having a more refined piano technique than anything else. Of course, Uchida is more a name now due to her artistry and her continuous improvement as a pianist overall.

Then, there are these instances which are so, sooo depressing:

https://youtu.be/8CbNFt_4Qfs?t=2m10s



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I'm going to point to Ilya Itin again, just in case people haven't been listening to him. He is a world-class player by anyone's standard, and clearly a Taubman devotee also, since he is on the Golandsky faculty. You can find a lot of recordings of his playing on YouTube, but here's one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zw5Fq-8ma4

He is an interesting case because his path to the Taubman approach was different from that of Golandsky or the other leaders of her institute, who came to it by working with Taubman herself and are focused most on pedagogy. Itin had already won the Leeds competition and started an international career. But, as I've heard him tell it in an interview, he felt limited by fatigue. He assumed this was normal and experienced by everyone--until he learned from Taubman study that it wasn't. I think you can see in the videos the ease of his technique now. He is also a brilliant artist, of course.


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Originally Posted by MikeN

Also, I'll point out that I've heard of no bullying done by the teachers who teach this stuff at the highest level, though I will say I'm not actively apart of that world.


I've been to a fair number of Golandsky Institute events. Both there and in quite a few years of private lessons with my teacher, I've never heard any berating, let alone ruthlessness. If anything, I'm struck by how the teachers there all seem able to maintain their good humor, and their sense of humor, despite all the negativity and misunderstanding about them that floats around through the world. I'm sure what keeps them going, and keeps them sane, is the fact that they really do know the value of what they're doing. They experience the positive results of it every day, both for themselves and for their students.


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In the beginning we can get into bad habits because the pieces we play doesn't require a lot of finger dexterity. When we start to get into intermediate & advanced repertoire, the inefficient hand movements can cause finger tensions. Found a similar set of videos 1-5 by Dr. John Mortensen: Tension at the Piano:


Came across another lady Ilinca Vartic from the Piano Career Academy who talked about the "Holistic Approach" to piano playing.
Even before going to the piano, we can do stretching hand & shoulder exercises before playing. The late violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin used to do Yoga exercises in the morning and made his students do the same before starting their practices.

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Wow, these are good videos, and all were posted just a day or so ago. Seems to be a lot of good advice and analysis.

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It's always interesting how many people argue about the Taubman method from having seen a few videos , or even watched all the tapes, but have never worked with an actual teacher. I have the good fortune to be studying with Alison Cheroff, who studied with Edna Golandsky for 16 years! I am an "elderly" beginner on the piano, but I have a degree in applied flute from the New England Conservatory., so I am not a beginner as a musician.( I cannot play flute due to overuse injury, so when I went to look for a piano teacher, I wanted someone who could understand potential muscular issues. I also have arthritis.)

Working with Alison is the best thing I could have done- although it took 3-4 months before I began to really catch on to this technique, I went from beginning to experience pain and tension with another teacher, to the present where, if I truly follow protocol, I can play for hours without a bit of pain. And if my arthritis kicks up for other reasons, playing the piano actually makes my hands feel better. And I've just touched the surface of this training. I look forward to learning more.

I recently purchased the set of Taubman DVDs and realized that if I only saw those , I would understand very little. They are, I believe, meant to be supplemental. Perhaps there are a few missing details- I think someone mentioned hunching shoulders- maybe that could have been emphasized more in the tapes, but if you look at Edna's posture, you don't see any hunching. I have only watched the first 2 , so I honestly don't know where the next tapes go. But I DO know that a teacher is essential. It's too bad there aren't more of them around. (Alison is in Vermont). All I know is that when I play now it is so liberating to feel like there is a way to play that causes no pain, and in fact enables freedom of expression. I am enjoying listening to Taubman trained Ilya Itin as I write this.

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Originally Posted by harpsichorder
It's always interesting how many people argue about the Taubman method from having seen a few videos , or even watched all the tapes, but have never worked with an actual teacher.[...]


You make a very valid point. I have never studied the Taubman method, nor with a Taubman teacher, nor have I watched any of the videos. I have also refrained from voicing an opinion on something I know only the little I have read, which is not enough to be informed.

It does seem to me that the severest critics of the method are those who have tried it only based on the videos and on reading. It also seems that more emphasis may need to be placed on one-on-one experience with a teacher well-versed in the method.

Often on this site, one tries to give instruction or direction to someone who has asked a technical question, and the answer often boils down to: "You have to ask your teacher." which underlines the importance of one-on-one action=reaction=correction=practice=result.

Thanks for your input.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by harpsichorder
It's always interesting how many people argue about the Taubman method from having seen a few videos , or even watched all the tapes, but have never worked with an actual teacher.[...]


You make a very valid point. I have never studied the Taubman method, nor with a Taubman teacher, nor have I watched any of the videos. I have also refrained from voicing an opinion on something I know only the little I have read, which is not enough to be informed.

It does seem to me that the severest critics of the method are those who have tried it only based on the videos and on reading. It also seems that more emphasis may need to be placed on one-on-one experience with a teacher well-versed in the method.

Often on this site, one tries to give instruction or direction to someone who has asked a technical question, and the answer often boils down to: "You have to ask your teacher." which underlines the importance of one-on-one action=reaction=correction=practice=result.

Thanks for your input.

Regards,


Yes! Here is Alison playing, by the way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDEM9g6gR4g

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Time for me to give back: this last message led me to Alison whom I've started studying with in the past few months. Alison is the best teacher I ever had and I no longer feel pain when playing. I've had doubts too when considered trying Taubman, but I'm grateful to have found Alison, thanks to this forum, and am amazed by how much the Taubman technique transformed my playing, and solved the issues I had. This is a very big deal for me, I probably couldn't have continued playing otherwise.

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Many great pianists use a lot of ideas explained in Taubman technique intuitively.

My own story with this method was somehow funny.
Being a concert pianist, I had to step back and rebuild my technique from scratch at one point, because of strong pains in my hands caused by over use. In Europe, where I reside, this Taubman method is not that famous yet, so I was getting some advice from local physiology specialists, but mostly inventing my own approach, experimenting just with what’s painful and exhausting, and what’s easy and natural (when your hands react with pain to any tension, it’s quite easy haha). After a while I started my blog in order to share my experience and my own method how to play without the tension. Some people commented: “oh it’s actually like in Taubman approach!”. So I was really curious and watched all from YouTube and got these original video lessons in order to get a comprehensive impression. I didn’t finish watching all the dvds yet, but till today’s point I didn’t learn anything new, reacting more like “yeah, that’s true”, or “that’s exactly what I do”, or “that’s slightly different how I’d explain it, but the idea is the same”. So, I mean, with all the respect to Taubman Approach, there is nothing so unique what you can’t find on your own (of course if you are an experienced musician as I am). It’s just a common sense, polished and refined through decades of hard work of how to explain things so everyone would understand (and they are really great in explaining things), and an excellent marketing, that makes many people believe, that they are one and only who knows about safe and efficient piano playing.

If you’d carefully watch videos of Argerich, Hamelin and other great pianists, particularly known for their seemingly effortless way of playing, you’d notice a LOT of things that relate to what today is considered Taubman’s Method features.

And yes, it’s true. Being a good pianist, a good musician, and a good teacher are so different things. It’s easier for me since I was doing things gradually: first studying with great artists that taught me “some culture” and understanding how to create convincing and powerful interpretations. But since they wasn’t technique specialists, they didn’t notice that I was playing with a bit more tension than necessary. Then, having all that artistic background I was forced to dedicate all my time to physiology. And finally, now I am teaching, sharing my experience, while still actively playing. And this is already challenging: in order to stay in a brilliant form a pianist must strongly limit his teaching hours. I think people like Golandsky etc, just dedicated them to teaching fully just too early to remain or become brilliant pianists.
Here is what I am doing actually, have fun: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpAb_ZJzHV_3cnN9w8M_kon06o6YbRNVN

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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
There is no "Dorothy Taubman's technique", it's just a marketing gimmick. Dorothy Taubman described practical ideas that were known long before she was born. Every pianist knows about using gravity, hand rotation and other such things, it's simply impossible to play advanced pieces without using these things, but there is nothing "Taubman's" in it.

Amen.

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Originally Posted by Denis Zhdanov
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
There is no "Dorothy Taubman's technique", it's just a marketing gimmick. Dorothy Taubman described practical ideas that were known long before she was born. Every pianist knows about using gravity, hand rotation and other such things, it's simply impossible to play advanced pieces without using these things, but there is nothing "Taubman's" in it.

Amen.

I've probably said this before, but it is not a "marketing gimmick." Taubman herself often said, and any Taubman teacher would tell you, that she derived her method from observing what the best pianists were doing that made their technique so good. She did not claim to be inventing a new technique and would have thought that was ridiculous. But she did develop a systematic and distinctive method for analyzing and teaching effective technique.

What the Taubman specialists are doing is helping people get to the best and healthiest technique with a carefully designed pedagogy. They actually like to refer to their own teaching as an "approach" rather than a technique, because they are not saying that everyone needs to change to a new technique. They don't claim to have the only answers, either. But nearly everyone could benefit by learning from them, because nearly everyone has some limitation or aspect of technique that could be improved, and they have highly effective tools to analyze and pinpoint problems. People with injuries or threat of injury have benefited especially, but they are not the only ones.

People have a weird fantasy of Taubman teaching as a money machine, but no one who actually knows a Taubman teacher would think that. The Golandsky Institute does charge for stuff, yes--but it's a nonprofit enterprise and the money goes into funding their workshops, symposia, etc. The leaders there are not living lavishly from teaching piano! They are working hard, teaching students and training other piano teachers to carry on Taubman's work.


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Originally Posted by jdw
nearly everyone could benefit by learning from them, because nearly everyone has some limitation or aspect of technique that could be improved, and they have highly effective tools to analyze and pinpoint problems. People with injuries or threat of injury have benefited especially, but they are not the only ones.
Are you seriously equating 'limited technique' with "problems" that can only be pinpointed by Taubman, because she/they have "highly effective tools to analyze & pinpoint problems" - and that "nearly everyone could benefit"??

That's the talk of an uncritical and undiscerning acolyte. (I was about to say 'almost cult-like', but I won't....)

Did you ask all those virtuosi from the ex-Soviet bloc and Europe who make up the lion's share of the great pianists of the past century (as well as today), or those from Asia, who are now also making big inroads in the world's concert halls - none of whom know anything about Taubman (and probably never even heard of her) - why they didn't think of getting advice from her and her disciples in matters of technique?

BTW, I'm no virtuoso, but I have a performance diploma, gained after studying with a concert pianist in my final student years. Nobody had heard of Taubman then, and even now, most piano teachers here know nothing about her except (perhaps) her name, nor do they care. I have no idea what a Taubman acolyte would think of my piano technique and I don't give a toss. What I do know is that I've never had any injury related to piano playing, and the "limitations" in technique I perceived when I was a student (because I felt there were some virtuosic pieces that were completely beyond me) turned out to be entirely illusory once I bought my own piano in 2010, and could spend as much time as I wanted (when I wasn't at work) on dedicated practicing and working on those 'impossible' pieces, which gradually became not just possible, but also 'performable'.

And all without Taubman's help........


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Bennevis,

Perhaps you did not read the part of my post that said, "They don't claim to have the only answers." Or the part where Taubman recognized that there were plenty of virtuosi out there, not taught by her, who were doing just fine.

I said "nearly everyone could benefit" because people generally do benefit from expanding their knowledge, learning about approaches that are different from what they already know. Presumably Taubman-trained people would benefit from exploring unfamiliar areas as well. If your attitude is, I know nothing about this but I couldn't possibly learn from it, your mind is closed.

I don't appreciate your insulting language but will resist the temptation to reciprocate.


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Originally Posted by jdw
. Presumably Taubman-trained people would benefit from exploring unfamiliar areas as well..
Indeed they would.

How did Chopin and Liszt and all their students manage without Taubman?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
How did Chopin and Liszt and all their students manage without Taubman?
hehehe

The approach is based on observing good child and adult piano players, so there is no magic behind the curtain.

A few teachers from the Golandsky Institute helped resolve my hand and arm pain, and tweak my technique.

All my teachers had decades of teaching experience, were very good instructors, and specialized in injured pianists. That stacks the deck a bit, so one might ask how important is teacher vs. approach? I have no idea but injured pianists might look to medical and music professionals experienced with injured pianists.

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