THE WELL-BALANCED PIANIST
The Integrated Approach Dr. Teresa Dybvig, Director

Program
    Curriculum
    Sample schedules
    Testimonials
    Qualities
    Uniqueness
Events and Retrospectives
Information
    Taubman approach
    Injuries
    Proper seating
    Learning styles
    Links & resources
Instructors
Online Lessons
Contact
Home


Upcoming Events
Colorado
June 2018




"Partners: Excellent idea, excellent grouping. It was a terrific way to learn to detect problems and/or good elements in someone else's playing."

"Partner groups: a brilliant stroke of genius!"

"Partner groups were my favorite part. Fixed many problems of mine while others learned from it."

from anonymous evaluations


"I think the beach outings were a great idea. I think it's very important that people totally be able to get away from the intense atmosphere for awhile, see nature, and clear their heads. It was a nice way for people to socialize and get to know each other."

anonymous evaluation

Curriculum of The Well-Balanced Pianist

Participants in The Well-Balanced Pianist programs experience full schedules of lessons and clinics, packed with supportive interaction among all participants and teachers.

For the curriculum of specific events, please visit the Events page.

There are five core elements to our program curriculum:

The following is a general example of what any program may include.

  • Lessons with Dr. Teresa Dybvig, Susan Nowicki, or a guest artist/clinician.
  • Clinics, focusing on musicianship, whole-body movement, teaching, learning styles in the private teaching studio, or an aspect of the Dorothy Taubman's Approach to Piano Technique. Clinics may start with group lessons, so people know what to do when they work separately with their partners. Previous experience in the Taubman approach is not required.
  • Work in partner groups during clinics and practice is central to The Well-Balanced Pianist programs. Partners observe one another's lessons, and practice together as desired. Partner group work helps keep spirits up while keeping focus sharp. People also improve their teaching in partner group work, learning how to spot specific problems and solutions with alignment, balance, and movement, and good ways to move people's hands and arms.
  • Group classes in which all students observe and sometimes help one another's work, giving all participants an opportunity to observe people working at all levels. This helps people develop a sense of the big picture.
  • Scheduled exercise breaks for beach excursions, running, hiking, or walking.
  • Special events such as presentations and/or interactive classes on interpretation, learning styles, memory, or performance mindset performances classes.
  • Scheduled bodywork sessions in Yoga, Alexander, Aston-Patterning, or Feldenkrais. Previous experience in of these disciplines is not required.
  • Guided discussion on positive mindset for practice and performance. For these we rely greatly on Don Greene's Performance Success, but also use other resources, such as Susan Jeffers' Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Timothy Galwey's Inner Game of Tennis, and ideas from our own personal journeys, imagination, and experience!
  • Showings of The Taubman Techniques videos.
  • In longer-lasting programs, a Works-in-Progress recital, at which people perform anywhere from one perfect note played by a perfect thumb, to Beethoven sonata movements.


Certified Iyengar yoga teacher Carol Burns has taught yoga classes for The Well-Balanced Pianist programs on Long Island.
"I felt great after the yoga class."
- anonymous evaluation

A note to you from director Teresa Dybvig about The Well-Balanced Pianist curriculum philosophy:

The curriculum of The Well-Balanced Pianist stems from several sources. One is my observation that people who approach their pianistic improvement from many directions improve faster than people who focus narrowly on playing more repertoire, or learning healthier hand and arm movement. Another was my personal experience in improving my playing through lesson observation and teaching. Another was my bewilderment that so many students of mine could attend a comprehensive lecture on one aspect of piano technique and leave with an odd focus on a marginal element that didn't help their playing in any way.

First, I backed up and asked myself what kind of information a pianist/teacher needed in order to improve. Then I decided to create a program in which people had the chance to improve their musicality, technique, mindset, posture, and teaching all at once.

Then, I consulted with people whose passion is education -- most notably, Dr. Sarah Church and Melissa Dayton. It turns out that it's widely known in the education world that a couple of situations greatly speed up learning.

One is "learning communities." The one-room schoolhouse, for example, in which more advanced students solidify their understanding of material by helping less advanced students, is a fantastic learning situation.

Another known fact is that the most effective learning occurs when a student is presented with a small amount of information and then given the opportunity to experience the information in a number of ways.

I could see that there was a way to work with these facts to create an optimal learning situation.

First, I created partner groups in The Well-Balanced Pianist programs. Participants have the option of participating more or less in their groups. Those who fully particpate in their groups -- take notes for one another at lessons, practice with one another, and provide moral support -- improve much more than those who don't participate. If I had to put a number on it, I would say they learn four times as much per week than equally motivated participants who merely observe lessons and practice on their own.

I recently heard Dr. Steven Post, co-author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People, speak on another benefit of learning communities: he says that when people help others in learning communities, their health and happiness improves! That's fine with us at The Well-Balanced Pianist!

My consultation with experts in education also led me to have clinics instead of lectures. In clinics, we present a small amount of information, and allow people to experience it by observing others, working with the clinician, and working with others. Written material supports understanding in another way.

There is one other element that I believe increases the rate of learning at The Well-Balanced Pianist: the environment is fun and supportive. Participants feel they can be open about their pianistic foibles, and nobody will criticize. We can all laugh about our shortcomings, and enjoy the adventure of improving our playing.

If you come to even one program, you will see what I mean! You can enjoy yourself while improving in important ways. Don't just believe me, read what past participants have to say.
- Teresa Dybvig