Carla Levy, BM, MFA
Every day as I begin my early morning practice, I become aware of motion and sound. I take pleasure in knowing that coordination, fluidity and freedom have replaced tension, fatigue and discomfort.
I cannot remember a time when playing the piano was anything other than an intense struggle. By the time I was ten, I was already so injured that I felt I would never be able to play challenging repertoire. At seventeen I was accepted to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where, four years later, I limped through my senior recital playing music I loved with collapsed thumb joints, low wrists, high knuckles and forearms that were completely disconnected from my hands and body.
Graduate school at the University of Iowa was even more challenging as I struggled to meet performance requirements. I participated in meaningful discussions with peers and teachers about sound, rhythm and structure, knowing that I still could not bridge the gap between the musical and the physical.
When I began teaching in my early twenties, I painfully admitted to myself that some of my young students managed to negotiate passages that I could barely demonstrate. “I shouldn’t be teaching,” I would say to friends. Everyone dismissed me, telling me that of course I was exaggerating.
At the age of forty, when most people have achieved a certain professional maturity, I began to seriously consider other career choices. During this period a dear friend urged me to try the Taubman approach.
I loved the Taubman work from the beginning. I love knowing that the physical and musical can unite into a meaningful whole that results in true musical expressivity. And I love knowing that I can now transmit this work to my students.
I have thoroughly reworked my technique and am now free of years of debilitating tension and pain. I am playing repertoire that without this work would not have been possible — Chopin’s Ballade in G Minor, Ravel’s Jeux d’eau and Beethoven’s Sonata, op. 26.
My studies with Edna Golandsky have shown me that there is a powerful lesson to be learned from this work. If I, as a middle-aged woman, could transform an injured body and mind into a coherent whole, does this not suggest that anything is possible?
Carla Levy, BM, MFA
Faculty Member, La Guardia High School of the Performing Arts