Teaching the Taubman Approach is extremely rewarding. I was first introduced to it in 1991, and since studying the Taubman Approach and getting it into my body, it has given me the tools and knowledge necessary to retrain adult pianists to play without pain, with new-found ease and a beautiful tone. It has also enabled me to guide young children in developing a natural technique and give them a lifelong love of music. The gift of this body of knowledge has enriched my playing and is taking me on a very gratifying journey.
I am in Izmir giving a workshop at the Ahmed Adnan Saygun Art Center. It's a beautiful and modern facility that opened 7 years ago. The hall where I am teaching is gorgeous. The participants have been very enthusiastic and the level of playing quite high.
I was injured during the first semester of my graduate studies at Kent State University in Ohio. I had had mild pain in the past, along with an overall sense of technical limitation that I attributed to a lack of practicing, but this was different. Suddenly, almost overnight, I lost the ability to play even simple scales without pain. When other methods of pain relief proved ineffective (I tried massage, acupuncture, Tiger Balm, IcyHot, Epsom salt soaks, ice, ibuprofen, wrist braces, physical therapy, and examination by other piano technique experts), my professor suggested I attend the Golandsky Institute's Summer Symposium in Princeton. After learning about the Taubman Approach, I decided that the only way I would ever be able to pursue life as a musician would be to retrain. It really was a choice between retraining and giving up piano altogether.
Hi. I’m Anthony van den Broek and I run a music studio from my home in Erskineville in Sydney, Australia. It is a bustling studio full to capacity with a very wide range of ages and levels. Erskineville is 3km from the centre of the city and 15 years ago was full of university students, artists and the working class. At that time, my studio consisted of 80% adult students and 20% school-aged students.
I recently learnt that I was one of four pianists worldwide invited to attend the vocal arts program at the Tanglewood Music Center for their 75th anniversary season this coming summer. It has been my dream to attend Tanglewood and I never thought it would happen especially since it was only five years ago that I was seriously considering giving up on music due to a totally debilitating playing related injury.
In pondering my many musical activities and how the Taubman Approach has influenced them, I have come to realize that this body of work permeates every single one of these, even the activities that on first reflection seem only distantly related at most. For instance, one of my favorite musical indulgences is to put together a setlist of tunes for a dance party.
When my student Margaret came to her lesson last week she was ecstatic! During the week before her lesson she at last understood how she could apply, to her daily practice, the movement and organizational principles from the Taubman approach we had been working on together. It was a revelation to her. For the first time in her life, she had a clear approach to practicing her pieces. Her practice now consisted of identifying problems and applying coordinate movement, acute listening, and organizational tools to address issues of speed, clarity, balance, sound quality, evenness, leaps, articulation, pedaling, and any number of musical and technical challenges (interrelated of course) that we pianists face at our instrument.
When I was invited to contribute something to the new blog on the Golandsky Institute site I thought that it would be a good opportunity to share some ways I have applied a simple principle from the Taubman Approach in my development of ways to teach improvisation and syncopation.