How can I help myself in retraining?

Undertaking retraining requires patience, an open mind, and willingness to change one’s technique. The process is easier when one maintains a positive mindset, and commits to consistent, quality practice. People are often surprised by the logic and clarity of the principles presented, and thrilled by the positive and unexpected results emerging in their playing. Passages that were previously difficult suddenly become easy.

Learning something new requires a willingness to risk being temporarily dislodged from the familiar, even from skills that are functioning to some degree. To combat this displacement, Taubman teachers emphasise giving the student alternatives that actually work and are symptom free. Thus, when initially learning the Taubman Approach, certain principles from earlier training may need to be temporarily suspended. Later, these concepts may again be incorporated, understood from a different perspective, or dismissed.

If someone is stubbornly unwilling to make changes, retraining can be very difficult and learning the Taubman Approach may not be for them.

Taubman understood the need for the student to rebuild a relationship with the instrument, believing that “The piano should become something very loving to you.  You should want to touch it all the time. That’s very important” (Taubman Institute, 1995, see DVD 2). Trust and courage are required to resume playing when there is pain. With a skilled teacher, an injured student begins to experience Taubman’s revelation that correct movement is therapeutic.

Learning new skills can also be aided if one is not stressed by the conflict of a looming performance. A common reaction after overcoming pain is to succumb to the pressure of prior commitments, returning too quickly to preparing for performances or other pressing commitments. However, if the fundamentals are shaky, or issues unresolved, symptoms may recur until completely addressed.

Thus, for thorough retraining, it is often best, and faster in the long-term, to prioritise establishing healthy movement patterns over preparing for performances.

However, other pianists manage to incorporate new aspects to their playing while preparing for a performance, and do so successfully. It really depends on the individual.

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About golandsky
Edna Golandsky is the leading exponent of the Taubman Approach. She has earned wide acclaim throughout the United States and abroad for her extraordinary ability to solve technical problems and for her penetrating musical insight. She received both her bachelor of music and master of music degrees from the Juilliard School, following which she continued her studies with Dorothy Taubman. Performers and students from around the world come to study, coach, and consult with Ms. Golandsky. A pedagogue of international renown, she has a long-established reputation for the expert diagnosis and treatment of problems such as fatigue, pain, and serious injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, focal dystonia, thoracic outlet syndrome, tennis and golfer’s elbow, and ganglia. She has been a featured speaker at many music medicine conferences. She is also an adjunct professor of piano at the City University of New York (CUNY). Ms. Golandsky has lectured and conducted master classes at some of the most prestigious music institutions in the United States, including the Eastman School of Music, Yale University, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Oberlin Conservatory. Internationally, she has given seminars in Canada, Holland, Israel, Korea, Panama, and Turkey. In 2001 she was a guest lecturer at the European Piano Teachers’ Association in Oxford, England, and in July 2003 she conducted a symposium in Lecce, Italy. In August 2010, she gave a master class and judged in a piano competition at the Chatauqua Festival. She was a guest presenter at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in 2003 and 2009 and was engaged to return in October 2010. In 2011 she was a guest presenter at the Music Teachers National Association in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Piano Teachers Congress of New York; and the Music Teachers Association of California. She gave week-long workshops at the Panama Jazz Festival at 2009 and 2010 and will return in 2012. For the past three years, Ms. Golandsky and violinist Sophie Till have been working on a detailed application of the Taubman principles for string players. An instructional book about beginning lessons in the Taubman Approach for violinists is slated to come out in the future. Ms. Golandsky’s application of the work for computer users has resulted in Healthy Typing, an instructional DVD. Edna Golandsky is the person with whom Dorothy Taubman worked most closely. In 1976 Ms. Golandsky conceived the idea of establishing an Institute where people could come together during the summer and pursue an intensive investigation of the Taubman Approach. She encouraged Mrs. Taubman to establish the Taubman Institute, which they ran together as co-founders. Mrs. Taubman was executive director and Ms. Golandsky served as artistic director. Almost from the beginning, Mrs. Taubman entrusted Ms. Golandsky with the planning and programming of the annual summer session. She gave daily lectures on the Taubman Approach and later conducted master classes as well. As the face of the Taubman Approach, Ms. Golandsky discusses each of its elements in a ten-volume video series. Mrs. Taubman has written, “I consider her the leading authority on the Taubman Approach to instrumental playing.”

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