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What You Need to Know About Taubman Approach to Piano Technique

Taubman approach which was developed over five decades is not a method but rather a comprehensive approach to piano technique that allows for an ordered and rational means of solving technical problems. Not only has this approach produced virtuoso pianists but also achieved an extraordinary success rate curing injured pianists most of whom are performing again. Apart from developing brilliance and ease in playing the taubman approach offers tools to understand and teach full artistic expression thereby helping pianists to reach their highest potential as performing artists.

The principles of the taubman approach are not new. Taubman’s innovation was in explicitly codifying the mostly invisible motions underlying a fluent, free technique which many virtuosi intuitively adopt. Taubman constructed a systematic pedagogical approach to developing coordinate movement through a process of complexity that results in simplicity. The fundamental principle of the taubman approach maintains that the fingers, hands as well as arms always operate as a synchronized unit with each part doing what it does best. When such is examined in detail it gives three further guidelines.

One is coordinate movement permits to act as near to their mid-range of action as possible thios produces minimum fatigue and maximum accuracy of kinaesthetic judgment since increasing tension results as the extreme of motion is approached. Second is in coordinate movement each part must act at the best mechanical advantage. For instance as the larger upper arm is incapable of the forearm’s speed the forearm initiates motion. Third coordinate movement denotes minimum effort for the maximum result thereby creating precision as well as freedom.

The taubman approach has several major contributions. One was drawing attention to the existence of playing-related musculoskeletal disorders and analyzing their physical and playingrelated causes in late 1960s long before awareness reached the mainstream in the 1980s. Taubman also found that coordinate movement is therapeutic either minimizing or alleviating problems. Through developing more coordinated use injured pianists not only overcame their problems but also played at a higher level than prior to injury. Those who were never injured acquired new levels of facility. Another of taubman revelations was that relaxation is the result not the cause of correct playing. Excessive relaxation is heavy thereby rendering speed difficult. Relaxation may also cause tension elsewhere as more energy is required to initiate movement and other parts have to work harder. Taubman therefore advocated the lively, free midrange of movement between tension and relaxation.

An underlying premise in taubman pedagogy is all technical problems can be solved through effective diagnosis rather than more practice. In conclusion the taubman approach is therefore a body of knowledge that successfully addresses how to solve the myriad challenges in playing piano. It also provides the necessary tools to cure playing-related injuries and prevent them and the feelings of fatigue, limitation and pain from happening in the first place. It is logical, efficacious and supports the physiology of the human body and makes possible the highest musical aspirations of the person. While taubman approach is often applied to virtuoso literature the information organized here can be used in advanced, intermediate and even beginner repertoire.

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