Finding accommodation in New York when you come for lessons.

I receive many inquiries from pianists coming to New York for lessons asking about accommodation while they are here. Here is a list below which may be helpful in your search.
1. www.craigslist.org (choose your US city from here).
List “piano” or “grand piano” in the search.  It is recommended to both post your own listing (you may need a friend with a US cell no to help you, as listings can now only be activated with a code sent to a US cell), and search often. Often, people only list their apartments a month or so in advance.
Alternatively, if you are just in the US for a short time, you may consider renting an apartment without a piano, then hiring a rehearsal studio while you are here. There are several in the Midtown / Theater district (google to find), with a good grand piano fro $20-25/hour at 2012 prices (discussed further in this post).
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Solving computer-related issues.

You can also go to my Healthy Typing website for information, free video clips, and a link to buy the Healthy Typing DVD.

Are there any Golandsky Institute teachers in Europe or Asia?

There is now a certified teacher in Istanbul, Turkey: Deren Eryilmaz! Hopefully we will have more teachers in Europe in the future.

We do have certified teachers based in the USA, Canada and Australia. Ilya Itin is currently based and teaching in Tokyo, Japan, and Elizabeth Swarthout occasionally teaches in Granada, Spain.

If you cannot travel to have lessons in person, it is possible to take Skype lessons with one of the Golandsky Institute teachers. See www.golandskyinstitute.org for more information on certified Taubman teachers, and future blog entries on how to best use Skype for lessons.

 

Practice facilities for pianists who come to NYC to take lessons.

I often get inquiries from pianists who are  coming to New York to take lessons with me, or one of the other Golandsky Institute instructors, and are looking for somewhere to practice.

If you click on this link below, you can view a PDF document with detailed information on practice studios to help you in your search.

Practice_Facilities

How does the Taubman Approach compare to the Alexander Technique?

There are quite a few commonalities between Alexander’s work and the Taubman Approach. Alexander and Taubman were innovators in insisting that one’s use is the source of one’s physical problems, and in advocating improved physical function as the only means of complete recovery. In both disciplines, overcoming injury is a side effect of improved use, requiring the full commitment of the student, and study with a skilled teacher. Many parallels can also be drawn with the fundamental principles of alignment, balance, and efficient, coordinate use of one’s body.

Neither Taubman nor Alexander had formal medical training, yet both were decades ahead of their time in challenging long-established attitudes held by performers, teachers, and the medical profession (see Gelb, 1994, p. 21; de Alcantara, 1997, p. 275).  As Alexander found, medical practitioners do not always “recognize the relationship between misdirection of use and that unsatisfactory standard of functioning which is always found in association with disease” (1931/2001, p. 88). Additionally, he recognised that a typical medical approach is diagnosing the problem, but not necessarily building healthy skills (1931/ 2001, p. 90). In this way, both Taubman and Alexander were unique in realising that it is insufficient to say what not to do; incoordinate patterns of movement need to be replaced with effective, healthy ones.

One key difference is that the Taubman Approach is absolutely specific to the requirements of playing the instrument and the requirements of the music. So for example, the Taubman Approach deals with how the fingers are able to move with ease, speed and power, how a singing tone is produced, how the hand can open to play chords. While the Alexander Technique may bring a musician to a certain point wherein their body will intuitively seek these precise details, it is not specific to the demands of playing the instrument.

The same is true for Feldenkrais, and other whole-body approaches.

Reference List:

Alexander, F. M. (1931/ 2001). The use of the self: Its conscious direction in relation to diagnosis functioning and the control of reaction (Rev. ed.). London: Orion.

de Alcantara, P. (1997). Indirect procedures: A musician’s guide to the Alexander technique. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Gelb, M. (1994). Body learning: An introduction to the Alexander technique (New ed.). London: Aurum Press.

Why are movements sometimes large at the beginning?

For pianists with a history of isolated finger technique, a temporary “training wheels” stage of large rotation may be a necessary step to experience freedom of the forearm and hand. For others, it can be more effective to immediately begin training with smaller movements.

Emphasising the forearm’s role reconnects the forearm with finger movement and releases the tension accumulated by isolated, raised finger technique (Taubman Institute, 2003, see DVD 2).  As soon as is appropriate, the movements are gradually minimised, at which point they begin to feel much more natural.  That is hugely enhanced when the minimised rotation is combined with other movements such as shaping, in and out, and the walking hand and arm.

Reference List:

Taubman Institute. (1995). Virtuosity in a box: The Taubman techniques, Vols. 1-5. [DVDs]. Medusa, NY: Taubman Institute.

How can a piano technique be translated to the violin or another instrument?

The laws governing coordinate motion that enable the fingers, hand and forearm to move with ease, speed and power are the same. For example, as pianists need to depress keys and move over the keyboard, violinists need to depress the strings and move over the fingerboard. While each instrument has its own specific requirements, the fundamental principles of motion are the same.

 

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