Rachel Smith and Sophie Till on the Taubman / Golandsky Approach to Strings, Part 1

Cropped-2014-5Sophie: What struck you most at the beginning?
Rachel: It struck me(very hard!) that quite a lot of the concepts were entirely logical and made complete sense, and yet were mostly at odds with how I’d learned to play for the last few decades. In fact in the end the jump to deciding this was the way forward wasn’t so big, although it felt that way at the very beginning. Now I realise I wasn’t throwing away all I learned, but giving it a positive track. My brain (and body) recognised quickly that I was finally feeding it some positive information!

Sophie: Why did you start taking lessons and what state of mind were you in when you began?
Rachel: I had been struggling with all sorts of aspects of playing and had been searching for solutions, but the main catalyst for getting in touch with Sophie was a wrist injury. After a demanding tour the pain started radiating up my arm. I was avoiding shaking hands with people because it was so uncomfortable. I had anxieties associated with this pain, and issues and questions with many aspects of playing (ranging from ‘how do I sit?’, ‘how do I play quietly and comfortably?’ to ‘how do I get through a Schubert symphony without feeling intense fatigue?’…)
I found that none of my tools could be relied upon, especially in moments of pressure. I happened to be doing the tour with Therese and explained what was going on; when she suggested I get in touch with Sophie I felt I had nothing to lose!

Sophie: What is it about your experience that you most want to communicate to your colleagues?  Rachel: My  experience began with knowing nothing about this approach, just yet another attempt to make things feel better. I quickly came to discover that the layersof this work run much deeper than just being able to play without pain or discomfort. Understanding and applying healthy movement is the non-negotiable fundament of beginning to build and access a whole world of musical scope that may have been limited by physical and mental obstacles before.  I feel I am backed up by an arsenal of knowledge that helps me connect to the music and express it directly.

Sophie: How has it changed your own teaching?  Rachel: I came to Sophie just wanting to make things feel better. The benefit of the knowledge I have gained is so evident in my own teaching- I feel I’m not stabbing in the dark with solutions to all sorts of issues students have, but I’m quickly able to get obvious, long lasting results with all sorts of issues. 

mw0013AUSTA Keynote speaker Sophie Till (USA) in recital with pianist Therese Milanovic, Brisbane July 1, performing the Strauss Sonata, Prokofiev Sonata no 1, Ravel “Blues” Sonata, and Nocturne by USA composer Jennifer Higdon (flyer and booking details below). Sophie is also available for private lessons in Brisbane from June 25 – Fri 3 July. Please contact therese.milanovic@gmail.com / 0421 477 700 to book your lesson, or with any questions.

Sophie will also present a full day workshop on the Taubman / Golandsky Approach to Strings, in Sydney, Mon 29 June. This workshop is for all stringed instruments, bookings essential. Bring your instruments, and questions from the repertoire for this hands-on practical workshop. Some private lesson slots available in Sydney Mon June 29 (evening) and Tues 30 June (morning).

More information about Sophie’s work can be found at www.sophietill.com, and her Australian program at www.theresemilanovic.com/sophie-till-visit-2015/.

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