Sheila Paige
  The Keyboard Wellness Seminar Piano • Organ • Computer
Tributes to Dorothy Taubman  
Message from Sheila Paige

This year the seminar is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Taubman, who passed away in April of 2013 at the age of 95. I know that without her work, I wouldn’t be playing the piano today. Without her work, I wouldn’t be teaching, traveling and sharing her ideas all over the country. Without her work, there wouldn’t be a Keyboard Wellness Seminar.

I’d like to thank her for sharing her life and her genius with us. Because of Mrs. Taubman’s work, pianists everywhere have hope for the future.

When I began to have pain playing the piano, I felt despair, for I could not find the help I needed to solve my problem. Then I learned about the work of Dorothy Taubman and had the opportunity to study with Sheila Paige. How tremendously rewarding it was to experience this exciting new approach to playing the piano. After receiving patient, knowledgeable guidance, I was able to once again enjoy playing with new freedom and insight both technically and musically. I will always be grateful that this wonderful world of possibility was opened to me, for I now go to the piano with great pleasure and joy. I trust this important work will go forward to countless other teachers and students, as well as to artist performers who can continue to open this vista to others.
Virginia B. Rowlett, a former Coordinator of Music at Roane State Community College, Harriman, Tennessee, as well as an MTNA Nationally Certified piano teacher, now retired.

"Dorothy Taubamn has left an indelible impression upon the piano world which will last as long as there are pianos and people who wish to play them. I believe that Ms. Taubman's discoveries will continue to gain in influence and acceptance in future generations of musicians with attendant increase in the overall level of technical proficiency as well as a general decrease in the amount of injury, pain and physical dysfunction among pianists. Dorothy truly falls into that category of visionaries who have contributed significantly to the happiness and well being of so many people. It has never been my privilege to meet Ms. Taubman personally; I therefore regret that I will never be able to say "thank you" to her in person for the very positive influence she has had upon both my playing and teaching."

Dr. Robert Roux, Professor of Piano and Chair of Keyboard, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University

I'm forever grateful to Sheila Paige and Dorothy Taubman for the invaluable knowledge I've learned about piano technique. I discovered a volume of VHS tapes about the Taubman technique in the University of Texas library that changed my approach to the piano completely. I was fortunate enough to meet Sheila in Austin, TX, to help me implement more coordinated movements in addition to receiving a scholarship to the 2007 Dorothy Taubman Seminar in New York. I know I would not have the control and dexterity to expressively convey music if it weren't for Mrs. Taubman's teachings.
Brian Grothues, B.M., M.M.

It was not my good fortune to have met Dorothy Taubman, but I feel I have profited from her insightful work through Sheila Paige. Sheila gained much insight from Mrs. Taubman, which she shares with oh, so many. I am extremely grateful for Mrs. Taubman's detailed work and wish I had known her personally.
Brenda Bruce, M.M. In piano performance, New England Conservatory

Like countless pianists that had, have and/or are studying with one of her dedicated, gifted students; I feel so tremendously grateful to Mrs. Taubman. She gave me and my students the possibility to always improve our technique, so that we could be ever more connected to the music that we are playing without the barrier of physical discomfort. As Mrs. Taubman often said, "Playing piano should feel…...delicious!" Her gift of insight will continue to change the lives of instrumentalists for the better for generations to come!
S Hsu, member of the Oscuro Quintet, and a student of Joseph Gurt, Yoheved Kaplinsky, and Sheila Paige.

I have met and interacted with 3 extraordinary people in my life, and Dorothy Taubman is one of these. With her extreme intelligence and intuitive sense for motion at the keyboard, she was able to analyze her own fluid motions into component movements that could be taught. She developed this understanding while teaching children, and then applied it to advanced pianists. It works, and exceedingly well.
Anyone who teaches her principles should pay homage and give credit to her as a rare genius who has advanced the art of playing and performing piano to a level sought by many, but formerly achievable only by a few. Even injured pianists can now have hope for relief of pain and play once again. Many of these would be committed to a life without piano if it weren’t for Mrs. Taubman. I have seen their anguish and tears.
And so I salute this great woman and encourage you to remember and do the same.
Harvey J. Bellin M.D., F.A.C.P.

Every time I encounter and conquer consecutive octaves, I think of Dorothy Taubman.
Every time I gain control over a nasty arpeggio passage, I think of Dorothy Taubman.
When I tilt in order to successfully play a blocked octave filled with unwieldy inner chord tones, I think of her again.
Likewise, when I roll through multiple-octave leaps, reel off the kind of passages that my teacher used to call “snaggletoothed,” or overcome pianistic challenges through ergonomic motion, Dorothy Taubman is right by my side.
When I group, and shape, and leap, and untwist, and just flat don’t hurt anymore, I think of her yet again.
And when I supply a quick fix for any student struggling with the issues mentioned above, I think of Dorothy Taubman. With gratitude.
Susan Geffen, managing editor of Clavier Companion and pianist, educator, adjudicator, and writer

The work of Dorothy Taubman has had a profound influence on my life as a pianist and most especially as a teacher. Mrs. Taubman’s ability to bring together scientific principles and the practical application of those principles, is presently and will continue to have a major impact in the world of piano pedagogy as it affects teaching philosophy in the future. Her knowledge will also continue to affect the concert careers of countless pianists and instrumentalists who have and will benefit from her life long study, wisdom, and observation of the study of motion. This enlightened information not only relates to musicians but to all who use repetitive motion within their discipline.
Dorothy Taubman also leaves an equally significant artistic legacy. The interpretive freedom resulting from the application of her technical principles, opens up an extensive world of imagination, an essential element of artistic and communicative expression.
The annual Keyboard Wellness Seminar at the University of North Texas was founded upon the principles of Dorothy Taubman. The seminar’s complimentary resources and varied areas of expertise, as well as the visionary leadership of Sheila Paige, builds upon the Taubman legacy and will continue to impact the lives of students, teachers, and performing artists, nationally and internationally.
With deep appreciation and devoted respect to the life and work of Dorothy Taubman,
Jane Abbott-Kirk, Professor of Piano, Baylor University

Dorothy Taubman's vision, knowledge of the human body and her logical means of movement opened up a whole world of freedom in my playing. I have also become a much more observant teacher so that my students can play without injury. I will try to live up to her legacy.
Yeeha Chiu, Steinway Artist, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Faculty, Keyboard Wellness Seminar, directed by Sheila Paige

I can't imagine where I or my students would be without forearm rotations! Thanks to those rotations and the other groundbreaking concepts developed by Dorothy Taubman, pianists have the opportunity to play with ease. What a difference she made in the lives of all those pianists who benefited from those techniques. What a contribution she made to the world of piano playing.
Janie Keys, MM, University of Texas, Private Piano Teacher

Dr. Brian Allison and Dorothy Taubman

The work pioneered by Dorothy Taubman has had a tremendous impact on me and my teaching. Playing piano is so much more rewarding and enjoyable. Technical challenges are much more manageable when examined through the principles she has developed. Tonal quality has so many more possibilities and longer melodic lines are much more pleasing to develop. I especially appreciate having these tools and techniques to pass on to my students. Years and years of searching for the "correct" way to play were ultimately satisfied through Mrs. Taubman's work as presented to me by Sheila Paige. I am forever grateful for this lifelong gift.
Dr. Brian Allison, Professor of Music, Head of Keyboard Studies, Collin College, Plano, TX.

I never had the honor of meeting Dorothy Taubman but have benefited tremendously through her work by studying with Sheila Paige. For far too many years I would practice and practice and practice, not realizing that I was merely reinforcing bad habits. Once I began learning how to properly and efficiently use my fingers, arms, and body, my playing became more fluid technically and musically. My practice time has been greatly reduced because I stopped repeating passages countless times thinking that repetition would cause improvement. I now solve the technical and musical problems as I learn, making learning much faster. I work full time outside of the music field and have competed in several amateur competitions – I don’t have much time to practice and need to make the most of every minute when preparing a program. I am very grateful for the work of Dorothy Taubman and that through it, I am able to play better than I ever imagined.
Lori Gilbert, Amateur Pianist

I am not a piano natural. I was never injured, but had so many ingrained bad habits, no one knew how to 'fix' me. Not until Sheila Paige, through her deep understanding of the teachings of Dorothy Taubman. So grateful to you both.
Cheryl Woodford, Nationally Certified Teacher of Music

I never met Dorothy Taubman, but her legacy has greatly influenced my life. Thank you, Sheila Paige, for tirelessly traveling throughout the country to bring her work to those of us who could not attend the Taubman Institute. Your combined innovations have completely transformed my playing, my learning, and my teaching. I am forever grateful to you both!
Vicki Conway, Senior Lecturer, The University of Texas at Tyler, Faculty, Keyboard Wellness Seminar

I remember meeting Dorothy Taubman at the then 2-week annual seminar in western Massachusetts. Sheila had the most students in attendance (15 or more?). I had only recently been introduced to the Taubman Technique and had had just a few lessons with Sheila (in Lewiston, TX). It was an all new world to me! During the life-changing 10+ years of private lessons with Sheila to rework my technique - actually, to enable me to play piano at all (I had focal dystonia) - I grew in great appreciation and respect for all that Dorothy Taubman uncovered in her discoveries as well as the quite phenomenal revelations that came to Sheila outside the Taubman Technique that she shared with me. Today I am happy to say I am playing, performing (locally) and loving the hearted and ingenious ways Sheila was able to present Dorothy Taubman's amazing work to me!
Janet Flynn, B.M. in piano performance from the University of Tulsa and retired MTNA Nationally Certified Piano Teacher

You will be missed Ms. Taubman, but you remain with us forever through all the seeds you've planted through Sheila Paige and others. I thank you for making our musical world a better one.
Karen Ann Krieger, Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Collegiate Chair, Vanderbilt University

Summer 2013: everywhere festivals and seminars are taking place, young pianists and experienced teachers, performers and audiences meet to share and explore the world of music, the world of the piano. How very many of us might not be doing this today were it not for Dorothy Taubman, who passed away just a few months ago.

Mrs. Taubman´s ideas about use of the body at the piano have revolutionized attitudes towards piano technique and have become an integral part of the teaching and playing even of many who never met her or may not even realize how much her work has influenced their lives. Like many geniuses, she was not always an easy person and her skills did not include professional political strategies or great diplomacy! She “told it like it is” and this was of course a threat to many established ways of thinking and even antagonized some colleagues. But the truth and effectiveness of what she taught us could not be ignored, and her approach and concepts can be found in conservatories throughout the world today. I am often amazed to hear pianists using her terminology who had never been exposed directly to her work – unfortunately, their understanding of how all of the different aspects of technique fit together is often incomplete: part of her legacy is the understanding of how the component parts of movement fit together to form a seamless, effortless whole.

On the other hand, there are many devoted pedagogues and performers who studied with her who understand the significance of her work as a whole and who enable their students to profit from her legacy. To name only a few: Edna Golandsky and the faculty at her Institute, Sheila Paige and her Keyboard Wellness Seminar, Sondra Tammam and Maria del Pico Taylor´s Taubman Seminar at Temple University, Yoheved Kaplinsky and most of the piano faculty at Juilliard. In Europe I represent her work through my teaching at the Musikhochschule Köln, and all of my students are aware of their debt to their “piano grandmother”!

DT was a force to be reckoned with. Although best known for her incredible successes in curing musicians´ injuries, her interests went far beyond this limited area. Her ideas about interpretation were provocative, to say the least, and she had a marvelously irreverent attitude towards accepted wisdom that truly freed the minds of her students, even if we didn´t always agree with her. She always called herself a scientist, and one can only hope that the spirit of curiosity and exploration with which she approached her chosen field will live on in her disciples.
Nina Tichman is a performing artist and pedagogue. She studied with Dorothy Taubman from 1976-1981. Tichman teaches at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne, Germany.

I never studied with Dorothy Taubman, but I attended a Taubman seminar in New York City several years ago. I also have the very good fortune of working with Sheila Paige. What I learned both from the seminar and what I learn from Sheila Paige has made a difference in my approach to the piano that can only be described as profound.

I feel that I owe a great debt to Dorothy Taubman even if indirectly.
Jeff Harris

Dorothy Taubman
I did not know Dorothy Taubman personally. I knew her through the summer Taubman Institutes which I attended for 5 years -- 1996 & 1997 in Amherst, and 1998 - 2000 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I was just one of many attendees who learned from her insights into keyboard technique and enjoyed her lively personality, her joy of teaching, and her love of music. She opened up a new way to practice, a way to thoughtfully examine, diagnose, and solve technical problems in my keyboard playing. She was so quick to go right to the heart of a pianist's problem in a musical passage. It was perhaps one note or one gesture that needed a technical correction. With just a few words on her part, the whole passage fit together beautifully, to be followed by a delighted smile on the face of the pianist.

I am thankful for the vision and commitment that created the summer institutes. It was hard work for her, her staff, and her faculty to give us that time each summer. For me, there was a lot of joy in spending time together with fellow musicians, in learning from the lectures and lessons, in having undisturbed practice time, and in enjoying the nightly concerts.

Injured pianists left those workshops with hope that they could make music again. Teachers had new ideas for working with their students. Performers found more freedom of expression in their playing. Quite an accomplishment. Quite a lady.
Janet Cherry, B.M., M.M. Meredith College, Independent piano teacher and church musician

Dorothy Taubman was a life changing teacher. I came to her after Rudolf Serkin and Leonard Shure and found her musicianship as revolutionary as it was refined. I don't think I ever learned so much as in that hour or two once a week at her apartment on 8th Avenue in Brooklyn.

She taught about the mechanics of playing the piano but she also taught about art, life, love- the real stuff of making music.

I miss her terribly as I know we all do.
Beth Levin

When I was introduced to “The Taubman Technique,” I quickly realized that this was the answer to a quest of at least thirty years. The next thought was: “All right. Let’s begin again at the beginning. How do you play one finger?” Very quickly the effectiveness of my teaching improved—now there were clear principles and answers, and it became relatively easy to assist younger bodies and brains to make beneficial changes. The broad spontaneous smiles that beamed when tangles magically resolved always indicated we were on the right track. Now there are pianists I have known ranging from Tennessee to California to Japan and India who may have never met Mrs. Taubman in person, but are the grateful beneficiaries of her discoveries and wisdom. Incorporating the changes into my own playing took longer, as the habits were older, but gradually riddles were solved, fluency increased, and the means of creating music became more and more natural. Quite literally, this connection with Mrs. Taubman has been life changing. A most remarkable woman. We were so fortunate to know her.
Robert Bonham, Professor Emeritus, Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee

Dorothy Taubman was a truly great teacher and an inspiring human being. As a teacher she transformed my piano technique and opened up my approach to interpretation of the score. Technically, she was a brilliant diagnostician with her ability to detect just what was missing or incorrect in the movements involved in playing any given passage. Sometimes the solution was as simple as a change in fingering, but other times it was far more subtle or complex. Her understanding of the world of motion at the keyboard was breathtaking.

Her approach to interpretation was highly communicative, probing the score for structure, meaning and emotion. She was diligent in developing her interpretation of the masterpieces of the repertoire but gave her students free rein in coming up with their own ideas. She was at home in teaching recital and concerto repertoire from Bach through contemporary composers.

Dorothy was an extraordinary human being who loved her family and took great interest in her students. She was generous with her time. One of her great virtues in teaching was patience. I admired her for her knowledge and concern about current events and her breadth of interests. She was a loving person with a great heart and she will be greatly missed.
Paul Maillet, is a Catholic priest (Sulpician) who teaches Scripture at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, CA. He studied with Dorothy Taubman for many years and taught at the Taubman Institute at Amherst and at Williams. He also taught at the Peabody Institute where he studied with Leon Fleisher and as Visiting Professor at the Eastman School of Music where he had studied with Cecile Genhart. He has concertized extensively in the Americas, Europe, and Asia and was soloist with many orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies from The Catholic University of America.