Why do some people find the Taubman Approach controversial?

Taubman was one of the first to acknowledge playing-related injuries in the 1950s, and to correlate specific problems with particular incoordinate movements at the instrument. For some, her claims posed a major threat to the piano establishment. As one Taubman student summarised, “If she’s right, a lot of traditional training is wrong” (cited in Dyer, 1995, p. B21).

Taubman called for unchallenged traditions of piano pedagogy to be “weighed, codified, and tested against our contemporary knowledge of the basic principles governing body movement and the mechanical laws governing the piano” (cited in Schneider, 1983, p. 21). However, this was greeted with “hostility” (Taubman, cited in Del Pico-Taylor & Tammam, 2005, p. 47). At that time, there was little interest in musicians’ problems; “Teachers denied any such thing existed” (Taubman, cited in n.a., 1986, p. 40). Apart from a handful of specialists, the medical profession has also been largely reluctant to embrace her work. One of the exceptions is Dr. Frank Wilson, a neurologist, who asserted that “She has challenged the medical establishment with remarkable results” (cited in n.a., 1986, p. 40). Other testimonials from medical professionals can be found at http://www.golandskyinstitute.org/about/doctors

Reference List:

Del Pico-Taylor, M., & Tammam, S. (2005). The wisdom of Dorothy Taubman. Clavier, 44(10), 19, 46-47.

Dyer, R. (1995, August 13). Dorothy Taubman teaches piano without pain. Boston Globe, p. 21

n.a. (1986, Sunday, July 27). Piano school tones up the hands on the keys. New York Times, p. 40.

Schneider, A. (1983). Dorothy Taubman: There is an answer. Clavier, 22(7), 19-21.

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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