Dr. William A. Pereira

The following is an excerpt from a federally funded study performed by Dr. William A. Pereira in 1995:

Biomechanical Differences in Playing Styles Among Pianists at the Dorothy Taubman Institute of Piano

Cumulative trauma disorders are the number one specific occupational health and safety problem in the United States, according to National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The incidence of occupational CTD’s has reached epidemic proportions, currently accounting for over 60% of all reported industrial injuries. CTD’s affect workers in a broad range of industries, affecting unskilled laborers and highly-trained professionals alike.

The rapid increase in computer use in the workplace has resulted in an equally rapid increase in the number of CTD cases resulting from their use, and computer use is expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate. Projections predict a veritable epidemic of computer-related CTD’s by the year 2000 unless preventive measures are implemented. Few of the currently available preventive approaches have been well-documented.

The current study evaluates the Taubman Approach to piano technique, which in terms of its approach to CTD’s is effectively a movement retraining approach. Dorothy Taubman is a distinguished New York piano teacher whose approach to teaching piano keyboard technique seems consonant with currently accepted physiologic, ergonomic, and biomechanical principles.

Mrs. Taubman developed her approach in order to help pianists play with more virtuosity by developing a coordinate technique; however, it became evident that a coordinate technique also can prevent or lead to reversal of injury. Not surprisingly, therefore, Mrs. Taubman and her faculty enjoy international reputations within musical circles for being able to help injured musicians, the majority of whom suffer from playing-induced CTD’s.

While CTD among musicians is in itself a matter of significance, this study is undertaken primarily because of (a) the applicability of the biomechanics of piano keyboard technique to computer keyboard technique, and (b) the instrumentation available for force and impulse measurement in the piano, which does not yet exist for computer keyboards. Documentation of the efficacy of the Taubman Approach could represent a major breakthrough in the as yet unsuccessful effort to lower the incidence of CTD.