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The New Paradigm


Is it possible that, in Taubman’s rules of movement and body placement, a new paradigm for teaching piano technique is implied? One that has at its foundation the idea of lining your natural forces up like ducks in a row, rather than the widely assumed one that good technique is about intelligent distribution of the work load among various muscles?  I think yes, she gets at a new paradigm even if we have to dig for it, and this is the overarching brilliance of her accomplishment.

The better the interested pianist or teacher understands this paradigm, and replaces the old assumptions with its new ones, the more intelligently she can direct the instruction. And that’s the reason for having a seven-pillars scheme—to remind of the science underlying every pedagogical exercise.

But, you say, what about the rotations we’ve heard about? Don’t they matter? Absolutely, the movements matter hugely for rebound and momentum, and that’s why they have to be done right. That’s also why you have to know that rebound and momentum are where you are headed as you learn them.  Suffice it to say, for now, that the seven pillars scheme suggests approaching this technique at the very outset of learning as a system of movement in which each aspect of the system is critical to the function of the whole.

How one could possibly get to the point of being able to do this is a topic of great interest to me and one of the motivating themes of this site—as is the fact that you could get the architecture and individual movements proper-looking and yet not have the system working for you. Before we broach these fascinating topics, though, I propose a diversion through a fantasy world for those of you who would benefit from something more pictorial than the seven pillars description. It is a fantasy world where others do your drudgery for you so that you get to focus on the miracle of it all!

If you don't care for fantasy and don't really care to find out how Dorothy Taubman posthumously helped my daughter pay her library fines, feel free to skip ahead to the article about single and double rotation.


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