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

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"The interactive joining of minds in the partner groups greatly increases the speed of learning."

"Before I encountered the Taubman approach, everything was about pushing and 'efforting.' Now it's about letting things flow and getting out of my own way. I've learned that I don't need to create an artifice of myself, that my self will do just fine."

"I feel more interested in pursuing playing again than I have in a very long time."
anonymous evaluations


Pencil Lesson
After this particular lunch, we talked about how to write in a healthy way. During other meals, we had scheduled and unscheduled discussions about The Taubman Techniques videos, about mental attitude in practice and performance, and about our various journeys:

"The feeling of community was also very special--there was nothing put on here, it was all so genuinely supportive and amicable."

"Meeting and talking with and hearing people talk about the realities of their own journeys was very helpful to me."

"The atmosphere was wonderful. The people were easy to get along with. The food was tasty. I could go on and on. I would highly recommend it to anyone who was interested."

anonymous evaluations

pattycake
Games are excellent teaching tools! Here, we are playing "patty-cake".


What is unique about The Well-Balanced Pianist programs?


a note from Director Teresa Dybvig

There are many short intensive piano programs. How do you choose the best one for you? Many programs have something to offer, but we feel that The Well-Balanced Pianist is the best one if you want to transform your playing in a short time.

I've had some fabulous teachers myself, in programs that nurtured me as a musician, and as a pianist. However, some recurring themes in my musical life, and in the musical lives of many of my students, drove me to create something new.

One of those themes was programs that help people become better musicians but not better pianists. Much of what is known about developing healthy and efficient technical skills is not available at many music departments or summer programs. On the other hand were programs that help pianists develop technical skills but don't help people develop as an artist. Then there were programs which helped people develop as musicians, but did not help musicians perform according to their potential. As a matter of fact, both crippling performance anxiety and lack of technical ability were often seen as indications that a pianist was not capable of surviving the "real world." Another theme was programs that help people become good musicians, but do not help them become effective teachers. And of course, there were programs that ignore the role of awareness of one's posture and body movement in playing the piano.

When I created The Well-Balanced Pianist I decided to address all these areas in an integrated, interactive manner. As a matter of fact, the first thing you would probably notice about a Well-Balanced Pianist program is how integrated all the components are.

INTEGRATED
  • In lessons, we help you achieve your musical goals by analyzing whether the impediment is musical or physical. Instructors draw upon their considerable education and experience to provide musical instruction. If you understand the idea but cannot produce the sound for technical reasons, we have the expertise to help you with that.
  • If your practice or performance mindset is getting in the way of you fulfilling your potential, we give you assignments to help address that. Anonymous evaluations reveal that some participants feel that scheduled mindset readings and discussions are sometimes — to their surprise! — the most helpful aspects of the entire program.
  • We use our knowledge of learning styles not only to try to reach you well, but also to help you teach yourself well when you practice. Then we use that knowledge to help you process information better, and then become a better teacher.
  • We keep up with our reading in fields of mastery studies and music education so we can advise you about the most effective way to practice your new information.
  • Scheduled bodywork helps you learn how to sit and move well at the piano — and the tools you learn in bodywork sessions is reinforced in your lessons.
INTERACTIVE

Another difference you'll see right away is how interactive the program is. Right from the opening activities, students and teachers work together. We work together in clinics. Lessons are one at a time, but in groups — so if you want to improve your teaching you have the opportunity to observe the trajectory of other students in their lessons. You can practice on your own, but if you want you can invite your partners in as extra eyes. The result is a feeling of camaraderie unusual in piano programs.

FUN!

We also have a lot of fun. Laughter and smiles are everywhere! It turns out that you can learn serious new skills while having fun. As a matter of fact, you probably learn more skills while you're enjoying yourself!

SKILLS

In The Well-Balanced Pianist programs, participants learn

  • a balance between ebb and flow in musical expression.
  • the ability to make many different sounds, to evoke the whole range of human emotion.
  • a toned, lively balanced movement which is neither relaxed nor tense, but in a wonderfu place in between.
  • a way of practicing that takes cues from the body's best movement and alignment in order to connect with the piano and the music.
  • a happy, contented mental balance that doesn't veer from feeling driven on one extreme, and discouraged on the other.
  • a focused, peaceful concentration in practice and focused, energized concentration in performance.
  • how to best teach themselves and their students
GOALS of the program

The Well-Balanced Pianist programs strive to help each participant achieve his or her own potential by
  • helping them bring music to life - we don't worry if it's "right".
  • helping them experience free, toned, flowing movement.
  • encouraging honesty, not perfection, in movement, musicianship, and communication.
  • providing supportive, interactive learning in non-competitive partner groups.
  • helping them learn to cooperate with their bodies and minds in the way they work best.
  • helping them teach students in the way their bodies and minds work best.
  • providing instructors who give students helpful, compassionate feedback.
Are you wondering if The Well-Balanced Pianist is for you? See what past participants have to say.

from anonymous evaluations:

"The interactive joining of minds in the partner groups greatly increases the speed of learning."

"The Performance Mindset master class was great, extremely creative."

"The Memory and Learning Styles workshop was a near-epiphany."

"I really appreciate the positive, energetic environment that you have created."

"I feel so much more aware of my body and my hands, and I also have grown in confidence!"

"This program showed me I could learn in a different, more fun way, gave me specific tools to change to a positive mindset, that I was getting in the way of my own progress."

See more anonymous evaluations.