How can I help myself in retraining?
February 27, 2012
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.