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".


Process Poems

We asked our 2008 participants to write poems during the course of their programs that would help them both remain lighthearted and be mindful of their process, their immediate goals for making changes during the program. The results were so brilliant, full of wisdom and whimsy, that we are sharing them here with you! A few of these are also by instructors, but because we are SO concerned about anonymity, we aren't saying which ones (this should in no way be interpreted to mean that we are insecure about our poetic prowess). I hope you enjoy reading these as much as we enjoyed writing them!


Be
Aware.
Let's go,
Align.
Never
Collapse!
Everytime.


A Neophyte Balanced Pianist
- A work in progress

My head is spinning
My brain will explode
All this knowledge
Is too much to hold.

I make it so hard
I get all out of breath
My body has drama
But my music lacks depth.

Where is my head?
Are my shoulders relaxed?
Am I sitting securely
On the bones of my ass?

And so I back up
I swallow my pride
Preconceived notions
I must put aside.

Not to mention my bench --
Is it at the right height?
Because if it's too low
It will never sound right.

I step back and give up
The goal of perfection
And live in the moment
of quiet reflection.

"Right" -- there's a word
I can no longer use
Now "better is better" --
No more self abuse!

I let go and listen
To the music I make
My shoulders are easy
My knees do not quake.

And slowly the piano
and I become one
For the first time in a long time,
I'm having fun.


(To the tune of "I'm as corny as Kansas in August")

The key is as flat as a sidewalk in Kansas,
So said Terry to Sam by and by,
No need to feel,
It will tilt to the heel
of your hand or fall down to your thigh.

Think of your wrist as you move left and then right,
Don't let it lead you to the next part,
Stay in the mid-range,
Oh, don't let that ever change
and you will play great Mozart.

Mary Ellen was playing with passion,
Suddenly Terry took her aside,
Here's a story
To keep you from worry
When ever you play thumb to 5:

"As the plane flies over the plateau,
Down go the care parcels one at a time,
But, the wing tips
Never, ever slip
Out of their horizontal line."

Now I need to finish the story,
As we prepare to go our own ways,
Susan and Terry
You've made us so merry,
And given us so much each day!


"Staccato goes down!"
Cries the whole Taubman town
These three words together are gold.
Don't try to pull up,
or you'll drown in swamp muck,
for ever stuck in the cold.


One Hand
Two Hands
Curled Hand
Bad Hand
Claw Hand
Limp Hand
Natural Hand
Good Hand
This hand likes to clutch and grab
This hand likes to look quite sad
Say, what a lot of hands there are
The toned ones are the best by far



Somewhere in between
the aligned
and the misaligned...
heart,
mind,
and body
slip into
one piece,
resting gently
in surrender
to a better place.


One day as I paddled
through the swamp
Terry said to me,
"Stop thinking so much --
you're forcing and fussing,
just try to let it be."

"No need to judge,
just open your mind,
and you will slowly see
that playing the piano
really can feel easy, fun, and free!"


Yes, we can
Yes, we can
We can make changes
Yes, we can.
Balance on seat
Feet on floor
Elbows down
With Terry and Susan
We can make changes
Yes, we can!


"The Cactus Pose"

I can do it on the wall
I can do it standing tall
I can do it in the air
I can do it everywhere!
I can do it while I eat
I can do it on the street
Oh! The cactus pose,
The cactus pose!
You are indeed my favorite pose.
If your shoulders feel small,
Just line up against the wall!


Negroclavierphobia is the disease
that makes fingers curl away from black keys
But if you'll just change the angle,
and the fulcrum of dangle
you'll find that they fit in with ease.


My bench is too high,
My bench is too low,
Where oh where should my bench go?


Oh the pieces you'll play
if you only do it our way;
Raise your wrist,
uncurl your fingers,
Relax your shoulders
and avoid the dingers;
We'll help you make the most of your talents
By teaching you to play in balance!


"Oh, yes!" said my partner
"Oh, yes!" said my teacher
You're really getting there!
You don't need to hover way up in the air!

Just rest down your arm
And now you agree
Your forearm is held
Right up by the key!

"Oh, yes!" said my partner
"Oh, yes said my teacher
You're really getting it!
You don't need to push
Not one little itty bit!

Just rest down that forearm
And now you agree
You magically land
At the bottom of the key!


The piano beckons,
" Play down!" one reckons,
When I start to approach,
" Rotate more!"
I hear someone reproach.

* *
The piano Cajoles,
"Go in!" , it entices all souls,
Then I begin to play,
" Stay out!" I hear someone say.

* *
The piano allures,
"Tap on the keys," it quietly purrs,
And after I finish the song,
"Thank you for playing"I hear someone
amidst the admiring throng.


I AM GREENE
Dr. Greene
Sports psychologist on the music scene
CENTER UP, CENTER DOWN,
It's the greatest game in town.
Do your best when pressure's high,
Easy to do, Give it a try!

You can center anywhere
Best to start off in a chair.
Find your focus, set an intention
Breathe in, breathe out, release all your tension.

Find your center, find your core,
Visualize your BEST, nothing less, nothing more.
Open your eyes, find your point of focus,
Now you're centered, and that's not Hocus Pocus!

I can center on a yacht,
I can center on the spot.
I can center in a rage,
I can center on the stage!
I've got to go, 'cause now I'm on,
Thank you, thank you, Dr. Don!

Sweet tea, chopsticks,
Soy sauce, toothpicks,
Band-aids, thumb splints,
Wounded walking, walking wounded.

IDGAC*
Oh, how IDGAC!
Perfectionists indeed,
People in need.
Living in dorms,
No smoking weed.

Knit Pickers Write
Looking for a fight.
They're so uptight
Oh how IDGAC.

Black foam puzzle pieces,
Wedge-shaped pillows.
Parking lot labyrinths,
Walks among the willows.

Hot today
Chile tomole
Unbalanced pianist
What a finale.
-- IDGAC

*I Don't Give a Crap, the name the mindset group that was NOT the perfectionists gave itself in Colorado (editorial note)


For a long time I thought
That my future was set.
Certain songs shouldn't be bought
Or so I thought in my head.
But then I discovered my potential was great.
Susan said, "Why limit yourself?"
And I soon took the bait.
Rhapsody in Blue could be played with some help.
And now that I'm learning my favorite piece
I'm happy and balanced
To say the least. :)


Roses are red
Drywall is spackled
Come to Balanced Pianist
To refresh your Block and Tackle

Bottom to Bottom to Bottom I go
As the music begins to flow
If at first intimidated
Mindsets soon are abated.

Now not only must I
try to use my arms with ease,
but also my feet, my back,
And my knees.
Oh me, oh my,
and what if I sneeze?

Left brain, right brain, left brain, right.
Try as I may and try as I might
I just can't seem to get it right.

But wait, you say,
it matters not
Which part of my brain produces a thought,
Not that I really could keep track,
It's simply an effort that's all for naught.

Trying is hard as hard can be,
and the funny thing is
that the harder you try,
the hardest it gets to see
Just what the point of
Trying could be.


Less is more, more is less
No big movements in excess
Just go down in a singe place,
Find the 'no big deal' spot when in haste.
Invite your elbow to be in front of you.
This all seems so easy to do.
When in the key be alert,
In that way you won't get hurt.
Resting is like a cat ready to pounce
And in that way you find your balance.

Follow through with your arm to the point of sound,
Keep your feet and pelvis towards the ground,
Ride the keys, break the resistance
And in that way, you go the distance.

Have the wit,
Dig yourself out of the pit!
Make the putt and you'll be real smooth
"Out of the rut, into the groove"
Release the tension
Like you made pension
Watch your alignment
Or you'll reach confinement
Relax your muscles
Will make you bustle
Keep your head up
So you'll get the Cup
When a musician plays a scale on
a newly cleaned piano,
He goes from C to shining C!
If you get the pun
You've had some real fun!


Summertime!
And the learnin' is easy
Ideas are jumpin' and
Solutions are high.
Your technique is rich
And your hands are Good-Lookin'
with Terry and Susan and Judy all
STANDIN' BY

One a these mornin's
you gonna wake up swimmin'
In the SWAMP you'll be gettin' all WET.
If that should happen...
you'll go right to your toolbox
For one of those great
ideas you came so far to get!

Well one a' these mornin's
We're gonna rise up playin'
We'll say "THAT'S IT"
and RISE UP TO THE SKY
And 'til that mornin' we'll
keep on gently walkin' with
SUSAN & TERRY & JUDYall standin' by.....


A nocturne by Chopin is nice,
As long as you heed this advice,
Remember to feel
How light is the heel
Of your hand
and you'll always entice.


A lady whose thumb liked to wipe
The keys with a definite swipe
Now lands nice and long
And plays the whole song
Without having reason to gripe.


White key, black key
Open hand
Be a little playful
Thumb can stand

Lunches, dinners,
room keys, phone-
Put it all aside,
and Center down.

Find my best route
to the key
Be direct and
let it be!


There once was a man from Nantucket
Who played while sitting on a bucket
He would hang from the keys
with no sense of ease
Until he met Terry from Setauket


And finally, two poems from our eager German-practicers:

Alles muss das Gleich sein
besonders mit dem Klavier.
Als ob man zu fuss geht
Aber mit den Arm und Fingern.

(Every thing must be balanced
especially with the piano
as if one is walking
but with the arm and fingers.)


Und hier bin ich, die letzte,
die etwas schreiben muss
Und das werde ich jetzte sagen,
dem Klavier mit dem Handen spielen,
und nicht mit dem Fuss!

(I am assured a Real Translation is coming. In the meantime, I'll just tell you this goes something like:

And here I am, last
And have to write Something,
And that is that the piano is played with the hand
And not with the foot!)