H. Franklin Bunn, M.D.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, specializing in diseases of the blood. I am also a keen amateur pianist and study at the School of Continuing Education at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC). For 5 years I was a member of the Board of Overseers of the NEC. At present I am on the NEC Board of Visitors.
… Because of my other life as an amateur pianist, I am eager for opportunities to learn and improve my playing. More importantly, my responsibilities as past chairperson of the NEC medical liaison committee have whetted my interest in the medical issues facing pianists and other instrumentalists who are beset with so-called repetitive use injuries.
… I [have] talked to many individuals who had incapacitating use injuries and had not received any benefit from consultations with neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and those dealing in alternative approaches such as acupuncture. It is remarkable how many of these individuals had crushingly disappointing experiences with medical and para-medical specialists of various types but were cured of their injuries once they were trained in the Taubman technique. In some cases the responses were very rapid. In others a prolonged period of time was needed.
The underpinnings of the Taubman technique rest on remarkably simple but, to my mind, highly sound and rational applications of a thorough understanding of anatomy and neuromuscular physiology. Mrs. Taubman, with the remarkably able input of Edna Golandsky, has developed principles based on maximizing physiologically sound arm and hand position with a technical approach based on forearm rotation and arm movements that takes advantage of muscle tension. Any tension, even minimal, is incoordinate and causes fatigue which may progress to injury. These principles seem so simple and yet building a piano technique on them is, of course, a marriage between science and art, one that Mrs. Taubman and Edna Golandsky have mastered in a very impressive way. Even so-called “musical qualities” such as tone production, dynamics, shaping phrase lines are not left up to “inspiration” or “genius”, but are governed by specific principles of physical motion and timing.
Given the high frequency and dire impact of use injury among pianists, the Taubman techniques should be of benefit to the huge number of piano students and established pianists who at this point lack access to this program. Furthermore it seems eminently logical that the principles on which the Taubman technique is based could be readily applied to the training of other instrumentalists in the interests of tension-free technique and prevention of use injuries.
With best wishes,
H. Franklin Bunn, MD