FAQ: I’ve just found out about the Taubman Approach. Where do I go for information?

Increasingly, the internet or “Dr Google” is becoming the default go-to when we seek information. A colleague surmised recently that when we were children, we went to school to access the knowledge, which usually meant teachers or the library. Nowadays, we have information at the touch of our fingertips, but we need to learn how to analyse and discern the vast quantity of facts, allegations, and opinions that comprise the internet.  

If you are interested in finding out more about the Taubman Approach and you start searching the internet, the first warning I would give you is to check the authenticity of your sources. Unfortunately, many people claim to be experts without any justification. In many pedagogy forums, each voice can be (worryingly) seen as an equal contribution to the conversation. Before you take on board that person’s opinion regarding this technique, you need to consider: Is that person a qualified Taubman teacher? Alternatively, has that person actually had a significant number of lessons with a certified Taubman teacher? Or did they just read something online and formed (or misinformed) an opinion from that? For example, if someone tells you that they have found learning the Taubman Approach slow going, I would dig deeper. Ask with whom they are studying, how regular the lessons have been, the length of lessons (obviously 60 minutes a week is going to yield faster progress than 30 minutes), whether they are working towards an exam or performance or still playing old pieces while retraining. Ask a little about their pianistic history and general musicianship. Some of my students have taken more time than others to build basic skills into their playing, and I can tell you exactly who and why. 

The second caution is that the Taubman Approach needs to be experienced, ideally in person, although Skype is a wonderful second best. You can read, you can watch videos, but until you have had a series of Taubman lessons with an experienced teacher, you have not experienced the work.  It is very difficult to describe an experience in the written form. The challenge in teaching this work is adapting the information to exactly what the person needs at each particular stage of their learning. One really needs to see the student play before knowing what needs to be added in to the mix, skilfully encouraging what is working well, and weeding out any incoordinate movements which are getting in the way. Diagnosis over email, text message, or piano pedagogy forum conversation is rarely effective. 

There are now three qualified Taubman teachers in Australia: apart from myself in Brisbane, Anthony van den Broek in Sydney, and Brenda Hunting (Brisbane / Gold Coast area). I hope in the future there will be many more! We all teach via Skype, and I travel regularly around Australia to teach.

If you would like to read and watch more to supplement your lessons, sources I would recommend are: golandskyinstitute.org  (you can join the streaming service for $10/month), see videos at ednagolandsky.com, read articles on my website theresemilanovic.com, go to YouTube and search Taubman Golandsky, or ask your local library to make an interlibrary loan so you can get hold of the 10 Taubman DVDs. These set of DVDs are incredibly rich and detailed, but as with anything, it is very difficult to apply information to your own playing.

If you really want to learn about the Taubman Approach, individual lessons is where the real learning happens. If you are outside Australia, go to https://www.golandskyinstitute.org/teachers/find-a-teacher to find where the closest trained Taubman teacher is to you.

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