My physical approach to the piano sets my teaching apart. My work is informed by my integration of the Taubman and Alexander techniques.
Historically, piano teaching has merely looked at the surface of students’ technique, but not dug into what is happening under the surface of their playing. Dorothy Taubman’s body of knowledge uncovers how pianists move effortlessly from note to note, and its principles apply to developing both virtuosity and injury-free movement. Most of these movements and adjustments are invisible to the eye and are often acquired intuitively by child prodigies and a handful of well-coordinated virtuosos. Thankfully, these movements—which effortlessly connect the finger, hand, and forearm—can also be broken down and learned. While a detailed study of the mechanics of playing may at first seem banal to serious musicians, the ultimate goal of this work is to more fully realize one’s expressive potential at the instrument. For those who suffer from excessive tension or pain, this work is essential.
The Alexander Technique’s emphasis on mind-body awareness encourages freedom and poise both at the piano and beyond, creating an effective model for both learning and changing habits. The Alexander Technique also fills in some gaps that are left largely unaddressed by Taubman’s work—the central importance of the head-neck-spine relationship, how to sit effortlessly, and how the arms, torso, and legs relate to each other.
With all of my students, I emphasize a healthy physical approach from the start, as playing with ease is essential for physical freedom, musical freedom, and the prevention of injury. My approach has particular value for more advanced students who are looking for specific solutions to technical problems. I welcome pre-professional and professional pianists who wish to play with greater expressive control, speed, consistency, and physical comfort.