Co-Founders and Co-Directors Testimonials



Maria del Pico Taylor

Maria del Pico Taylor
Professor of Piano, Temple University

I will never forget the first time I met Dorothy Taubman at the Institute for Man and Science in Rensselaerville, New York. It was the first public Taubman Institute of Piano in her career. The year was 1976.

When she came on the stage, the first thing she said was: “In most fields of knowledge, we are very advanced, but in the field of piano technique we still feel that we have it or we don’t have it. If we have it, this is wonderful; if we don’t have it, there is not much we can do about it. For the next two weeks, I am going to show you that this really is a fallacy because piano technique is a science. Learning to move using correct coordinations at the keyboard will help you to become the best pianist you could possibly be.”

Listening to that statement caught my attention, but I listened skeptically like a lot of other people in the room. However, I thought I would listen and give it a try. All I can say is, that after two weeks of hearing this absolutely marvelous woman presenting the concepts and principles she had discovered over many years, I was completely hooked. I concluded that I had never seen this kind of piano teaching anywhere, even though I had received a lot of very excellent training.

I have to say that just going to the first Institute changed my life, my teaching, my playing. I started to study with her shortly after and, even now, I am still learning from her endless discoveries. I will forever be grateful to Dorothy Taubman for the tremendous richness she brought to my musical career, and also to me as a person. She is a wonderful human being and I love her dearly.


 

Sondra Tammam

Sondra Tammam
Co-Founder and Co-Director

I had heard the name Dorothy Taubman as a young student at Manhattan School of Music and again at The Juilliard. Mrs. Taubman’s name circulated in the practice rooms...There was something special about what she had to offer- but it was also a “new” concept… one that had to do with sound and playing with ease.

In 1979, I was fortunate enough to have an introduction to meet Dorothy through her brother in law, Joe Taubman, an entertainment attorney. The timing was uncanny. My debuts in New York, London, Amsterdam and Berlin sponsored by the Paderewski Foundation were just a few months ahead. She was so encouraging.

The rest is history. With Mrs. Taubman’s innovative ideas on technique, sound and interpretation, my career as a pianist has taken on a new dimension. There are answers to problems when working with students and coaching concert artists as well. A day does not go by when practicing, teaching, performing or even listening to music, I find myself thinking about some facet of the ever evolving circle of concepts that are rooted in Dorothy’s approach.

Dorothy Taubman is an inspiration to those whose lives she has touched and will continue to influence pianists for generations to come. Her intense passion for research in an era that upheld hearsay tradition truly makes her a maverick. Her commitment to searching for answers and helping others has been selfless.

Mrs. Taubman… thank you for an extraordinary eye for hands on the keyboard and an ear that does not miss a nuance! I admire you more than you will ever know.


Testimonials To Dorothy Taubman


My name is Janette, and I wish to tell you a story. It is a story without an end, for there is thankfully so much of this journey still to tread – a path ahead filled with brightening hope and ever-surer steps. It is a story of shattered pieces of a dream lovingly pieced back together from the rending despair of loss. It is of joy finding breath again through music. And most of all, it is a story of the lives that one woman touched and how, through them, my one life was changed. I may not have had the chance to ever meet Dorothy Taubman, but it is through her legacy that the piano has been restored to me.

I came from a technique emphasizing individual and isolated finger strength. My earliest childhood memories involve utilizing the extra time spent sitting in a car to diligently practice a regimen of finger calisthenics – starting with attempting to increase the span reached between fingers by using the one hand to spread and stretch apart every finger of the other, I progressed to doing reps of finger lifts one by one. I took satisfaction in being able to lift my pinkies into the perfect “fishhook” shape, my confidence in my fingers’ strength bolstered with every finished set. I would grimly discipline my feeble fourth fingers by subjecting them to extra finger lifts whenever time presented itself in my elementary school classrooms. This, I was taught, would grant me the perfect touch to make scales sound like strings of pearls, and the agility and strength to execute any difficult passage. I still recall practicing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 894 in ninth grade by slowly lifting every finger high and snapping them down note by note to achieve that perfect Baroque sound. This was the only way I knew how to play, and after over a decade, it was ingrained in me.

Little did I know that I was slowly pushing my body to its breaking point. I had two academic passions, piano and chemistry, both of which I had planned to study in college. It was the eleventh grade and I was furiously preparing for upcoming auditions when I developed tendonitis in both hands and wrists. I at once went to see a hand specialist, a renowned doctor known for treating many Curtis Institute and Philadelphia Orchestra musicians. The verdict? “You will never be able to play the piano again in your life.” Imagine the effect that such a statement would have upon a sixteen-year-old, one full of the budding aspirations and enthusiasm of youth. The dawning horizon we were poised to set off into disintegrated into black night. Something fundamental to my existence was snuffed out, yet life inexorably carried on. People assured me that I still had my future in chemistry, and when a full scholarship was offered for just that, it seemed my path was set. I strengthened my resolve to salvage what I could of myself, all that was left of me, that is.

Over the next few years, I threw myself into chemistry and even became the sole recipient in my school of a national chemistry award. I tried to find joy in my successes and force contentment into the illusion of satisfaction I had woven around myself. But reality tasted flat and dull. The only time that elusive spark of life returned was when I found my way to the few practice rooms available. Those pianos may have been old and out of tune, but they were beautiful to my eyes and ears. It was my only breath of fresh air, the only thing that made the world seem more vibrant and alive.

And so I played, in defiance, in desperation, for joy, and to feel whole again. But my lifeline was also the root of my injury and only exacerbated the tendonitis. And all this time, the inflammation never had a chance to fully heal. Classes were writing intensive, requiring pages of notes and handwritten lab reports. In those years, pain became a constant companion, a fact of life. I even forgot what it felt like to live without pain, such was the state I had devolved into. I visited every hand doctor in the region, but each parroted the same thing — take ibuprofen and other NSAIDs and visit a physical therapist. Only acupuncture provided some temporary relief, but schoolwork was relentless. Going a month without pain was considered a small triumph.

The inflammation grew from my hands and wrists up to the elbows, shoulders, then neck, until it ultimately disabled me. I could no longer hold a cup of water, wash or brush my hair, hold a pencil, or type. Functioning day to day, much less going to school, was closed off. A medical withdrawal followed. Then after two excruciating steroid shots to my wrists, all I could do was rest at home like an invalid. It was at this point that I reached a crossroads – I could quietly return to continue on in chemistry and a sure and successful career, but write off piano forever, or I could find the courage to leave everything behind and listen to the calling of my heart.

This was how I arrived at my first Dorothy Taubman Seminar at Temple University, wrists still in splints but with a most cautious tendril of hope, the last kept alive in a crushed and broken heart. It was here where I met some of the most wonderful people in my life, and also found my dearest Professor Maria del Pico Taylor. In that one week, my eyes were opened to the groundbreaking discoveries of Dorothy Taubman’s lifelong work, and I could not fathom why every pianist in this world had not heard of her.

Here lay the answer to my years of searching and longing to play the piano, the one instrument capable of expressing that which I can never utter, for in her approach was not only the power to transform your playing to a more virtuosic level, but, as the end goal has always been, to equip pianists with the techniques necessary for freeing the fingers and mind in order to play unhindered and with greater musicality and expressiveness.

That week, I learned what hope felt like again. I remembered the strength that having a dream can give you. And that very fall semester, I transferred to Temple University to begin my retraining process. Those around me who knew how severely I had been injured had their doubts on whether I could ever become a piano major, or even how much this “Taubman Approach” could do for me. Scarred as I was, both physically and inwardly, and full of fears and insecurities, I knew I was a long shot. But out of Professor Taylor’s endless reserves of love and patience, I slowly began trusting in my body, trusting in what felt good and “delicious,” and believing that not only is playing pain-free possible, but that my dream of being a pianist was not a fruitless endeavor.

This injury was actually a blessing in disguise because it created a blank slate upon which I could thoroughly learn every concept and internalize each motion, creating a new sound and touch far superior to the old and one that is able to unlock the deepest levels of emotion. I have been given a most precious gift, one that I wish to cherish and honor by dedicating my life to carrying on the work that Dorothy Taubman entrusted to her students. Her teaching has monumental repercussions, able to change lives and realize dreams, and the genius of Mrs. Taubman deserves to be taught to every single pianist.

I am fortunate to be able to count among my teachers some of the finest of these first-generation students, Maria del Pico Taylor, Maria Hubler, and Dr. Angelin Chang, without whose wisdom and steady encouragement I could not have come this far. But Dorothy Taubman’s legacy must not die with us – there is an entire generation of young, aspiring pianists waiting to discover and benefit from the Taubman Approach.

I wish for them to experience, as I have, the miracle of going from practicing on a closed piano lid, to performing on an unlocked stage; the utter joy in being freed from the shackles of injury or physical limitations, and the artistic freedom that results. And above all, to be shown a world where the power of music penetrates every dark cloud to reveal the bright sunshine waiting above.

Jeanette H. Qian


Angelin Chang

"The gifts of healing and artistry that you have so generously shared will always be guiding lights in my teaching and performance."

Angelin Chang
Grammy Award Winner




Michael Gurt

"While the work of Dorothy Taubman has become well-known in recent years, it has sometimes been misinterpreted and misunderstood. This seminar provides an opportunity for teachers and performers to become better acquainted with Mrs. Taubman’s methods. The faculty members, all former Taubman students, have devoted many years to the study and dissemination of her ideas. Participation in the seminar has been not only informative, but a pleasure and a privilege as well."

Michael Gurt
Paul Garvey Manship Distinguished Professor of Piano, Louisiana State University



Daniel Epstein

"One of the highlights of my year is the annual Taubman Seminar at Temle University. I eagerly look forward to engaging with a wonderfully talened group of piano students. There is always lively and stimulating discussion with students, teachers and other Seminar faculty members. The Taubman Seminar serves an invaluable service in propagating and furthering the work of Dorothy Taubman, one of the most revolutionary piano pedagogues of all time."

Daniel Epstein
Professor of Piano, Manhattan School of Music and Rutgers University



Joseph Gurt

"We really can’t thank you enough for what you did for us pianistically and musically, making it possible for us to succeed in our field."

Joseph Gurt
Professor Emeritus, Eastern Michigan University





Father Paul Maillet

"She has given me new life as a pianist through her groundbreaking discoveries in the beautiful world of bodily coordination in “delicious” motion at the keyboard."

Father Paul Maillet
Co-Founder of The Dorothy Taubman Seminar and Concert Artist




Shulamit Ran

"Taubman’s approach brings the music to life in the most glowing colors, yet always emanating on the deepest level from the structure of the music itself."

Shulamit Ran
Pulitzer Prize Composer/Pianist




Nina Scolnik

"You, Mrs. Taubman have altered the world around you, and indeed, made your imprint on the face of this globe."

Nina Scolnik
Professor of Piano, University of California Irvine




Robert Shannon

"Besides the invaluable technical advice she imparted, Dorothy also gave us an attitude towards music-making, and yes, life itself."

Robert Shannon
Professor of Piano, Oberlin College




Nina Tichman

"A straightforward yet subtle approach to piano technique that provides all of the instrumental tools the pianist needs to express his or her artistic vision. Knowing her and working with her changed forever the way I look at a piece of music."

Nina Tichman
Recording Artist




David Witten

"Your guidance and keyboard approach has made everything about my playing so much more direct and beautiful."

David Witten
Professor of Piano and Head of Piano Department
Montclair State University



"It isn't always easy being the inventor and founder of something new, for the world doesn’t always say, “Ah, this is what we are looking for.” But when it’s right, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. You are the one and only one."

Bob Kay
Music Manager Executive