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Taubman Techniques

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This page contains links to most sites concerned with piano technique and piano related injury. Thirty-five(35) sites are summarized and rated. So far only two are reviewed in depth. Sites found in Google, Yahoo, and MSN with the search expressions [+hands +fingers +arms +"piano technique"] and [+hand +arm +finger +"piano technique"] which have any relevant information are added at irregular intervals as the web master's time allows.

Sites are rated with regard both the quality and amount of informational content as well as any products offered. More sites will soon be reviewed in depth. The order of the sites in this list is best to worst. However, the easiest way to find things is using the Find function in your browser. (e.g., Use Find to search for "Horowitz")


Edna Golandsky [go to site] This site replaces the Taubman Institute site as the primary exponent of the Taubman Techniques. If you are injured or feel limited by your technique, Edna can help you find a teacher. The video's, "The Taubman Techniques Volumes 1-10" are nothing short of brilliant. The production is not great but the presentation by Edna Golandsky is excellent and the informational content is unrivaled. The low information rating here is because there is little directly useful information at the site. Author/Infomaster=Edna Golandsky; info rating=3; product rating=5;

The Taubman Institute of Piano [go to site] The Taubman Institute split up last year, but Dorothy Taubman continues her work. This site has been updated recently. Most of he faculty of the Taubman Institute can now be reached at Edna Golandsky's site. Author/Infomaster=Enid Stettner; info rating=3; product rating=5;

Art of Practicing - Injury Prevention and Recovery [go to site] Alot of good information about specific movements and their purposes. The author advocates many ideas that are very similar to the Taubman technique. Some of what may appear to be subtle differences between this and Taubman are actually very important. Ms. Bruser advocates letting the fingers that are not being used rest down on the keys. At speed, this is impossible except for long notes. If the hand is really balanced and unified in the "position of function" this is unnecessary. The fingers resting down on the keys makes the hand harder to move. I have seen remarkable improvements in students playing in a master classes based on this issue alone. Ms. Bruser's finger strength exercises are suspect and unnecessary. Proper forearm rotation makes finger strength irrelevant. Author/Infomaster=Madeline Bruser; info rating=4;

Kevin Purrone Ph. D [go to site] Good outlines of the history of piano technique and specific developers including Clementi, Matthay, Leschetizky, Ortmann, Kochevitsky and Horowitz. I presume the authors sensible criticism is based on actually trying the techniques. It is interesting to note that none of the outlines mention forearm rotation (pronation and supination) or in and out movements which are the two most basic components of a coordinated technique. I have heard that Matthay actually did briefly mention forearm rotation. Author/Infomaster=Kevin Purrone; info rating=4;

Playing the Piano,Playing...With Fire? [go to site] This site is a rather thorough overview of piano injuires, their causes and potential cures. Healing methods presented are physiotherapy, the Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, faith healing and Piano therapy. The basic technique section is fairly good but incorrectly advocates turning the wrists out slightly (twisting)--probably in order to get the thumbs on the keyboard. The author advocates "pure finger technique" with "very slight movement of the elbow is absolutely necessary in this task." I suspect the slight movement of the elbow is the result of a natural forearm rotation of which the author may be unaware. Forearm rotation is the primary movement enabling the transfer of the forearm's weight to the keys in a controlled fashion. Author/Infomaster=Jónas Sen; info rating=4;

Musicians and Injuries [go to site] This site is big and has lots of links and books although the author is not very critical. Author/Infomaster=Paul Marxhausen ; info rating=4;

Introduction to Pulse Patterning [go to site] This site describes torso movements based on the Feldenkrais Method. Pulse Patterning is likely to be of interest to just about anyone but especially those suffering from back pain. Contrary to the author's claim that no piano "schools" include torso movement as an aspect of the technique, the Taubman technique does include specific torso movements for maintaining the optimal hand and arm positions. It is important to mention that back pain can often be caused by other technique problems which can be resolved by retraining. Also, normal repetoire generally keeps you moving so that static sitting is usually avoided. Author/Infomaster=Charles C. Aschbrenner; info rating=4;

Pianist's Injuries: Movement Retraining is the Key to Recovery [go to site] A pretty good article justifying retraining with a small amount of practical advice. The issue of how to retrain is not covered. Author/Infomaster=Thomas Mark; info rating=4;

My Piano Notes [go to site] Outlines of ideas of Matthay, Ortman, Schultz, and Kochevitsky. Some interesting bibliographical references. Author/Infomaster=Tak-Shing Chan; info rating=4;

Irini's Music Room [go to site] This site primarily presents information from other sources and some rather superficial reviews of three different video's. An brief explanation of Barbara Lister-Sink's "basic stroke" is presented. Author/Infomaster=Irini; info rating=4;

Robert Burnson's Piano Page [go to site] A useful reminder that the Taubman technique can not cure everthing. This site has a rather small amount of information but the description of forearm rotation is good. Author/Infomaster=Robert Burnson; info rating=4;

On Teaching Piano Technique [go to site] This site has a rather small amount of information. The advice is pretty good regarding arms and hands but not so good regarding posture. Author/Infomaster=Hao Huang; info rating=4;

Piano Pedagogy Piano Pedagogy Forum [go to site] An article discussing the value of exercises versus repertoire for developing technique. Author/Infomaster=Brenda Wristen; info rating=3;

Essay on Piano Technique [go to site] This article is quite long so I just skimmed it. From what I can tell there is alot of ideas about how we think about playing but relatively little on specific movements, problems and their solutions. Author/Infomaster=Bill Hammel; info rating=3;

Piano Pedagogy Plus: Piano Technique Links [go to site] The links at this site are also summarized here. The site is listed because of it's potential for new information. info rating=3;

Weight Bearing Manipulation: A neglected area of medical sciencerelevant to piano playing and overuse syndrome [go to site] This link is a well researched scientific article on the use of weight in piano playing. An interesting explanation of a passive finger extension mechanism involving the lumbricals is proposed. This explanation would support the conclusion of the Taubman technique--that fingers which are not in use should not rest down on the keys. However, the rest of the article is mostly erroneous suggesting that the tail wags the dog--or rather that "...the hand, wrist and arm are controlled from the distal end, using the small muscles of the hand, and not from the proximal end." The authors have missed forearm rotation entirely and it's function as a primary facilitator of transfering the forearm's weight from one finger to another. Author/Infomaster=Igor Hmelnitsky; Nigel Nettheim ; info rating=3;

Pianomap - a resource for pianists [go to site] The site has some links but very little useful info and is primarily aimed at selling the author's book and seminars. The book and seminars may very well be quite good as the site seems to endorse the Taubman technique. Author/Infomaster=Thomas Mark; info rating=3;

Freeing the Caged Bird [go to site] This site has very little useful information and is primarily aimed at selling the author's video and services. Author/Infomaster=Barbara Lister-Sink; info rating=3;

Niks Piano Technique and Hand Guide [go to site] I have been told numerous times by teachers that devices are very dangerous. I have never tried this or any device and I have never seen any scientific information regarding them. Nonetheless, the picture of the device shows a hand in less than optimal position. The fingers are curled, which leads me to believe that the people selling the device haven't quite understood the whole picture. Author/Infomaster=Mikhail Niks;Inessa Niks; info rating=3;

Chopin and Neuhaus Method's Site [go to site] This site has very little useful technical information (i.e., specific movements, problems and their solutions). There are alot of diagrams, but they are used primarily to support the thesis that the ear guides the hands. The part about weight and the "saw motion" (in and out) might be of some use. The site's design aesthetic is somewhat bizarre (not entirely negative) and the english is poor. The site consists mostly of an interpretation of Chopin and Neuhaus's ideas which like Neuhaus's book is focused primarily on interpretation and musical conception. The book has very little technical information and, if I remember correctly, some of the key concepts are wrong. Author/Infomaster=Stefan Kutrzeba; info rating=3;

Jazclass - Piano Technique Course on CD-ROM [go to site] This site is aimed primarily at promoting the author's product and has no useful information. Author/Infomaster=Michale Furstner; info rating=3;

Learning and Practicing Skilled Performance [go to site] This 110 page article seems interesting but has very little practical application to movement in relationship to the piano. Rather, it is about motor programs and cognitive aspects, and their relationship to learning and performance. I only skimmed this but it seems to be real research. Author/Infomaster=Francis Mechner; info rating=3; comments="c 1995 The Mechner Foundation, New York";

Piano Tone Production: A Guide for the Student Pianist [go to site] Superficial summary with some correct and some incorrect advice. Author/Infomaster=Robert T. Kelley ; info rating=2;

Pianists Pain-Prevention Tips [go to site] Superficial summary with some correct and some incorrect advice. Author/Infomaster=Anonymous; info rating=2;

Guide to the Daily Work of the Pianist: Excerpts from a Russian Diary [go to site] Much about listening, not much about how to physically accomplish your musical vision. Author/Infomaster=Nikolai Karlovitch Medtner; info rating=2; comments="Translated and edited by Mme. Olga Conus, assisted by Alverda Fitzgerald (Moscow, Government Musical Publishing House, 1963)";

Alan Fraser's site [go to site] [go to review] This site seems aimed primarily at promoting the author's book and career. The amount of technical information at this otherwise interesting and informative site is rather small. Mr. Fraser is influenced by the ideas of Moshe Feldenkrias regarding movement. This I consider positive. Much of the site seems geared towards exploring boundaries. For the technically gifted and highly adept there may some ideas to explore here. However, for the average serious piano student or pianist with injuries there isn't much useful information. I have not read the book yet, but the excerpts from the bookare not very promising. The descriptions of pianistic problems and the movements required are not clear. The book uses non-standard terminology to describe movement. Some of the exercises may be dangerous. Author/Infomaster=Alan Fraser; info rating=2; product rating=2;

Lesson: July 31, 2001 [go to site] Excerpt from a personal journal. The author talks primarily about relaxation and playing from the wrist. Not very helpful. Author/Infomaster=Brandon Kuczenski; info rating=2;

Pianists Pain-Prevention Tips [go to site] This page is superficial with some incorrect advice. The author recommends sitting att a height with the elbows just below key level. In fact, once the student gets used to using the weight of the forearm, they are usually more comfortable just above key level. It would be safest to say that the bottom of the elbow should be close to key level. Author/Infomaster=Howard Richman; info rating=2;

Mechanical Aspects of Piano Playing [go to site] Superficial summary with some correct and some incorrect advice. Author/Infomaster=Anonynous; info rating=2; comments="Ariticle last updated Mar 24, 2001";

PianoInjuryCure.net [go to site] [go to review] This site seems aimed primarily at selling the author's services. Much of the advice is misguided. The author doesn't seem to understand how forearm rotation and forearm weight can be used in what he calls "ground technique" (e.g., legato playing). Author/Infomaster=Yuri Ziskin; info rating=1; product rating=2; quote="Well, so far I am talking about what I call the ground technique. This is when the hand is in uninterrupted contact with the keyboard...That is why we talk about fingers. The ground technique is completely based on them.";

Dr. Downings Piano Technique Doctor [go to site] Main focus is selling the author's book. I haven't read the book yet but the excerpt from the book describes a wrist which is "loose and free...which can move sideways". I interpret sideways motion as adduction and abduction which both cause pinching of tendons and constriction of the carpal tunnel. With a coordinated technique, adduction and abduction of the wrist is unnecessary. A neutral wrist is preferred. The leads me to believe that the author hasn't quite understood the whole picture. Author/Infomaster=Nadia Lasserson; info rating=1; product rating=2;

Fundamentals of Piano Practice [go to site] This site has excerpts from the author's book with alot of good advice about practicing and learning pieces. Be careful though, the advice on technique is mostly misguided. Author/Infomaster=Chuan C. Chang; info rating=1;

Three Essays on the Fundamentals of Piano Playing [go to site] The section on technique contains many popular misconceptions. The author, a finger strength advocate, advises that "Rotation of the hand, sometimes recommended for a tremolo or Alberti bass, must be used very discreetly, if at all." I suspect that following this author's advice can lead rather rapidly to injury. Author/Infomaster=R. Wormleighton; info rating=1;

Piano Power [go to site] This site is primarily about selling the book. I will soon be reviewing this book which is one of the most dangerous I have seen! Author/Infomaster=Richard Prokop; info rating=1; product rating=1;

Piano Technique, The Simple and Certain Way [go to site] This article advocates a variation of finger strength exercises is useful only if you are interested in what not to do. If you want to be injured, follow these instructions. If you want to do more damage, teach this to other people. Author/Infomaster=Robert Nixon; info rating=1; product rating=1; quote="Now, keeping all other fingers, pushed down, play with the fifth finger, repeating its note (a G# in each hands), with an even rhythm at a moderate tempo (not very quickly). Play as loudly as possible, but ensure that no arm movement whatsoever is engaged, and ensure that the hand position remains correct (curved fingers, etc.). Repeat for as long as your concentration, patience and endurance permit (this could be between one and ten minutes).";







Created 2002-01-14 Last updated 2004-12-26