What can I expect from the July 13 Taubman Approach workshop with John Bloomfield?

We have planned a rich day of learning, with a focus on practical information that you can immediately take home and try in your own hands, and add to your toolbox of strategies for helping your students.  You’ll learn principles to help making playing the piano feel more effortless, ordered, and reliable, which will also lead towards developing more facility and expressive control.

If you’ve had some Taubman lessons, great, if you’ve seen some videos on YouTube, that’s fine too. If you’re curious and haven’t crossed paths yet with the Taubman work, please join us, you will feel at home and welcome. The material caters for experiences across the board, from teaching beginners, children, adults, classical or popular styles, to high-level performance. The Taubman work is not only for pianists in pain or discomfort, although if you do know of someone in this situation, please urge them to attend. No matter the level of your experience with the Taubman Approach, we intend for you to leave feeling inspired and empowered. You’ll meet some lovely people in the breaks, and enjoy a warm, collegial atmosphere in which to learn.

In addition to presentations by our guest presenter, John Bloomfield (Golandsky Institute, USA) we are fortunate to have Robert Durso and Mary Moran join via Skype from the USA. Robert’s presentation on Sinding’s Rustle of Spring Op. 32 no 3 will illuminate technical issues that can be challenging for many of us, such as polyrhythms, and managing arpeggiated figures, which is immediately applicable to many typical figuration in romantic era compositions. In my experience, even the most proficient pianists can still have questions around finding more ease with scales and arpeggios.  Tone production will also be discussed, with practical strategies to achieve the tone you desire. Mary will tailor her lecture to chord playing with concrete information around improving ease, precision and speed. Throughout the day, you’ll find analysis of the different skill categories required to play the piano well, which can be applied to other situations, regardless of the repertoire presented on the day.

The concept of looking for the closest note between intervals and chords is one that can be transferred easily to repertoire of any level. Once I became aware of what to look for, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed these moments before! Identifying the closest note, and as John Bloomfield’s presentation identifies, the non-adjacent closest note, can make the keyboard suddenly feel much smaller, and leaps more reliable.

Even if you don’t follow the AMEB system, my aim is to ensure that the ideas and discussions around the new AMEB technical exercises are relevant to other teaching and performance situations, whether you follow ANZCA, ABRSM, Trinity, or choose not to have your students sit exams. You will be taken through the logic of the choreography of these particular examples, reasoning behind fingering choices, and solutions for some of the typical things you can expect to encounter in lessons.

Following this is the small group session, in which John and I will take a group each to address hand on-questions. This is the heart of the Taubman work, as ideally the theory is never separated from the practical. We encourage you to ask questions, to have a mini-lesson and hands-on with us. You can bring a passage that feels insecure, uncomfortable, some thorny fingering, or questions from what you have learned so far. Alternatively, ask questions about using your laptop, phone, how to chop veggies (I’m serious – but please bring some veggies and a knife so we can practice), or other day-to-day activities that don’t feel comfortable as you would like.

The final session of the day is the Process of Teaching, led by John Bloomfield. Sometimes observing a Taubman teacher solve a long-standing problem can seem like magic, particularly if you are new to  watching the Taubman principles in action. Even after many years I can still find it amazing to see problems disappear and lives changed through the transformation of embodying this knowledge. As my teacher Edna Golandsky once said though when I asked how she diagnoses so quickly and accurately, for her it is a process “born of experience and intuition”. Through a session such as The Process of Teaching, we gain insights into the thought process and masterful pedagogy behind what can look like an instant decision, the possibilities present, and avenues discarded in interacting with the student. Through this elucidation, we can all continue to learn and improve. Playing and teaching the piano well is a complex and fascinating activity, and I’m so looking forward to continuing the next stage of my learning with John Bloomfield’s visit in July.

I hope to meet you at some of the wonderful presentations at APPC during the week, and also to have you join us for an exciting workshop with John Bloomfield on Sat July 13, 2019. If you can’t make it to Brisbane, you can enrol as an online participant and watch the videos as many times as you like after the event. All participants, whether attending in person or online, will be sent an email with a link to the videos as soon as they are edited and finalised.

Bookings through bit.ly/JohnBloomfield2019

Any questions please get in touch, therese.milanovic@gmail.com.  


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