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Author Topic: Taubman principles and rotation  (Read 841 times)
clouseau
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« on: August 14, 2017, 01:56:13 AM »

Hello everyone

I am in the process of studying the infamous Taubman tapes and I am wondering if somebody has been trained by certified taubman teacher or has more knowledge about this set of techniques.

One of the most basic principles is that we avoid the extreme range of motion and try to stay in the middle range. It also becomes apparent that rotation is being used wherever possible, not exclusively but in order to initiate or stimulate motion. So far so good. I would then try on the piano to play the 5 finger exercises which involve double and single rotation, and while doing so, i confronted a phenomenon which
seems to me like a very basic contradiction (maybe it isn't and I understood something wrong). That this most fundamental movement (forearm rotation) does reach the extreme range of motion: Hold your right forearm as if about to play. Now rotate the forearm to the right (works nicely) and to the left (doesn't rotate that much). So, try now a five finger pattern, for example, CDEFG with the right hand. Play E with the 3rd finger and do double rotation to play F with the 4th. Doing so reaches the extreme range of motion, even with a minimum rotation. That should not be according to the taubman principles, and this is a fundamental movement which is being repeated in almost anything you play, that is, inward rotation of the forearm.

can somebody clarify that?
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adodd81802
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« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2017, 08:32:50 AM »

If you can find a teacher, all well and good, in the UK they are non existent.

I wouldn't study the tapes without a teacher in all honesty as everything is open to interpretation without proper 1-1 guidance.

The impression I got is that it wasn't strictly about rotating the forearm and doing nothing else, but that the other muscles still have a job to do, and I'm thinking here about the actual lifting of your fingers?

If you didn't lift them at all, sure your motion will reach extreme pretty quickly, but rotation combined with lifting fingers, means you can slash the movements required.

The idea is to achieve an even balance of sound without either part doing more work than the other, especially the fingers. You may notice to achieve the same level of sound for example, that finger 1 requires a lot less assistance than finger 4 or 5 which should require the big muscles behind to support.
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anamnesis
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2017, 12:10:07 AM »

Hello everyone

I am in the process of studying the infamous Taubman tapes and I am wondering if somebody has been trained by certified taubman teacher or has more knowledge about this set of techniques.

One of the most basic principles is that we avoid the extreme range of motion and try to stay in the middle range. It also becomes apparent that rotation is being used wherever possible, not exclusively but in order to initiate or stimulate motion. So far so good. I would then try on the piano to play the 5 finger exercises which involve double and single rotation, and while doing so, i confronted a phenomenon which
seems to me like a very basic contradiction (maybe it isn't and I understood something wrong). That this most fundamental movement (forearm rotation) does reach the extreme range of motion: Hold your right forearm as if about to play. Now rotate the forearm to the right (works nicely) and to the left (doesn't rotate that much). So, try now a five finger pattern, for example, CDEFG with the right hand. Play E with the 3rd finger and do double rotation to play F with the 4th. Doing so reaches the extreme range of motion, even with a minimum rotation. That should not be according to the taubman principles, and this is a fundamental movement which is being repeated in almost anything you play, that is, inward rotation of the forearm.

can somebody clarify that?

If you played E to the right, it should give you more "room" to go left again before you articulate on the right again with the F. 

Prepare C-D-E-F-G
R          L  R  R R R

C to D single, doubles on the rest (go left before you articulate on the right)

It almost doesn't make sense to be in the extreme ranges with rotation because you will get off balance from the keyboard when you excessively over-pronate or over-supinate.  The combination of being correctly balanced the keyboard plus the changes of directions prevent being in the extreme ranges.   

You also need to be doing in-and-out motions from 3 to 4 with E-F.   3 goes out as a long finger and 4 goes in as it is relatively shorter in comparison to 3.   






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clouseau
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2017, 02:56:44 AM »

Thank you, everyone, for your response and interest

Anamnesis:
What you describe is clear. However, the "room" you describe from right to left is not what gives me force to play the next note to the right, but rather the opposite movement, from left to right. My main question is, why is forearm pronation supposed to be better than any other movement, while its range of motion from the playing position, is actually quite limited?

adodd81802:
So when still exaggerating the movements at the beginning, I should actually lift the fingers while rotating? I find it somehow easier, but still, it feels uncomfortable when reaching that point when i can't rotate anymore. You might say don't rotate so much, but you can't really rotate much to that direction to begin with.
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anamnesis
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2017, 04:51:08 AM »

Thank you, everyone, for your response and interest

Anamnesis:
What you describe is clear. However, the "room" you describe from right to left is not what gives me force to play the next note to the right, but rather the opposite movement, from left to right. My main question is, why is forearm pronation supposed to be better than any other movement, while its range of motion from the playing position, is actually quite limited?

adodd81802:
So when still exaggerating the movements at the beginning, I should actually lift the fingers while rotating? I find it somehow easier, but still, it feels uncomfortable when reaching that point when i can't rotate anymore. You might say don't rotate so much, but you can't really rotate much to that direction to begin with.

If anything, people don't actually take full advantage of pronation.  There's a reason why they generally give the example of almost over-pronating over the thumb nail.  

The mere act of placing placing the hands on the keyboard requires a pronated balance.  You aren't going to go to the extreme ranges unless you actually force yourself in either twisted postions, which are not aligned in the first place or being fully extended and internally rotated at the shoulder.  You simply cannot be in harmful positions with just over-pronation unless you are doing other things wrong simultaneously, which are usually more harmful.

Again, the room created by taking advantage of changes in direction solves your problem, so I'm still slightly confused precisely about the issue you are having.

The left to right provides the most immediate force, but all of this comes from a chain of momentum starting from that first preparatory motion. (Think dominoes or a series of see-saw canons.)  Hence, the slight balance to the right while articulating on the E  that gives you room to go to left before the right on F contributes if you are timing your keystrokes properly.

There's a timing to this that is required to take advantage of the essentially ballistic nature of the technique that keeps motion going forward while still spacing things out.  

My suggestion is to watch the other videos such as the walking hand and arm.  I feel that there are other aspects of the technique that you might be missing that are causing the issue. You seem to be restricting yourself in some dimension that is preventing you from having a free arm.  

Also, look at other more recent material:

https://www.golandskyinstitute.org/blog/teaching-rotation-with-robert-durso

https://www.golandskyinstitute.org/blog/teaching-the-double-rotation
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adodd81802
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2017, 10:11:44 AM »

The responses from Anamnesis are often a high quality.

However I will respond also, having viewed the entire series.

Something you may have caught her mention in the videos is that these motions that you are seeing are grossly exaggerated for the purpose of the viewer and student understanding what is being asked of them, so of course if you try to replicate what you are seeing you may not find it feels completely natural or even within your normal range.

One silly off topic story to add confidence to your initial uncertainty- is there are 2 main ways people hold a pencil when writing, one is the way most are taught, that is to hold the pencil strictly between the thumb and 1st finger with the others curled under for balance.

The 2nd is equally as viable, but with a completely different feel, that is the middle finger replaces the 1st fingers job, and the first finger moves up the pencil for added stability.

Both appear to achieve the same thing, but try them both, one feels completely natural the other feels alien. I, by the way use the 2nd method, however if I had a job in writing and there proved that the 1st method was better, i'd learn it, even if it felt uncomfortable at first.

Anyway back to the point -

The final refined product looks nothing like her initial examples as you see throughout. I think this is worth thinking about that you should not be worrying about the extreme motion, because you are not aiming for that, simply feel what your muscles are doing, get used to activating them, refining them, again look for a teacher before starting this journey, because you'll end up giving up along the way without the proper guidance.
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clouseau
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« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2017, 01:46:35 AM »

adodd81802 as I am not well versed in this school of playing, just starting out, so my questions might seem a bit obvious/strange. I thought this exaggerated movement is made in order to be practiced in some way and then minimalize motions gradually, rather than just for demonstration purposes. I will keep that in mind. Your example is certainly thought-provoking

anamnesis thank you for the more recent material.

Sadly where I am, not only there are no Taubman teachers, but no piano teachers in general, worth mentioning (the few exceptions prove the rule). Most teachers just teach what they have been taught with no intention whatsoever to deepen their knowledge on the subject or learn something new. Their fascination with music and the piano becomes apparent when you try to discuss with them: No knowledge beyond the teaching repertoire, no interest whatsoever in other schools of playing, on new concepts, other composers or genres.
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anamnesis
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2017, 03:41:40 AM »

adodd81802 as I am not well versed in this school of playing, just starting out, so my questions might seem a bit obvious/strange. I thought this exaggerated movement is made in order to be practiced in some way and then minimalize motions gradually, rather than just for demonstration purposes. I will keep that in mind. Your example is certainly thought-provoking

anamnesis thank you for the more recent material.

Sadly where I am, not only there are no Taubman teachers, but no piano teachers in general, worth mentioning (the few exceptions prove the rule). Most teachers just teach what they have been taught with no intention whatsoever to deepen their knowledge on the subject or learn something new. Their fascination with music and the piano becomes apparent when you try to discuss with them: No knowledge beyond the teaching repertoire, no interest whatsoever in other schools of playing, on new concepts, other composers or genres.

lastly, I would like to discourage fellow members from starting another online dispute. Those not interested in the subject can still post what they want in other section.

The amount of exaggeration introduced to the student occurs on a case-by-case basis.

In general, only rotation is exaggerated upon introduction as it is typically the dimension/range of motion the student is unused to experiencing.   The other motions are attempted to be minimized as possible from the get go, but over time they get smaller and smaller as well because the technique when taught correctly makes students more kinaesthetically (and temporally) perceptive. 

There's basically a perfect location, balance, height, and timing on each articulation that is sought in practice, and it is that search for the sensation of perfection that smoothes everything out that makes things smaller and smaller.   Usually the main job of a Taubman instructor is to get students to feel a glimpse of those perfect sensations, and then how to find them under the context of different situations at the keyboard.


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outin
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2017, 04:01:26 AM »


Something you may have caught her mention in the videos is that these motions that you are seeing are grossly exaggerated for the purpose of the viewer and student understanding what is being asked of them, so of course if you try to replicate what you are seeing you may not find it feels completely natural or even within your normal range.


This is also a problem with these methods and especially doing them without personalized teaching.  If a person is prone to exaggeration of movements already things can go wrong. I almost injured myself trying to play in a "healthier manner" because my movements are not naturally restricted as they should be. I learned that I can overdo the rotation and relaxation thing to the point of hurting myself...
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clouseau
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2017, 03:42:27 AM »

Anamnesis especially your last post I think illuminates the "Taubman technique". It is based on subjective/kinesthetic sensations, which could be described in a book but as outin points out, the best way would be to be taught by an instructor, who himself knows how it feels and has a certain ability to sense what is going wrong and how to fix it.

The thing is that there are no Taubman teachers here. So watching those videos, discussing it here and trying it out is the best I can do right now. It's better than not doing it altogether because I found myself in a situation where I could not practice more than an hour per day (various intense pains showed up when practicing more).But I have to practice more than an hour in order to be well prepared for an upcoming mini-recital.

anyway, thanks everyone
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dogperson
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 12:24:51 AM »

It certainly would not give  you immediate help, but I just found out there is a Taubman weeklong training seminar in Princeton, NJ  every summer.  From those I know that have attended it, it is well worth the time and money even if you will not have a Taubman instructor once you get home. 
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hardy_practice
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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2017, 09:40:22 PM »

The technique was first written about by Tobias Matthay.  Basically he noticed that you 'wind up' your hand/wrist by pronating.  That tension can be released when a supinating direction is required.  Yes, the pronating pianists use is quite at the extreme though nothing like violinists left hands/wrists.
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