My first introduction to the Taubman Approach was in 2003, followed by a four year gap before I was able to afford to return to the USA from my home town of Brisbane, Australia. Those first lessons with Edna Golandsky in 2007 were nothing short of revelatory. By that stage, I had managed to overcome my nearly decade-long injury, and was so thrilled to be playing at all that I had reconciled the many technical limitations in my playing as inevitable. Through those initial exhilarating lessons with Edna at the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium, I quickly began to understand that there was a concrete, logical answer to every one of my unending list of questions. After my experience of nearly a decade-long injury with seemingly little help available, it was also clear (and shocking to me) that overcoming injury was merely the first stage in the deep learning possible through the Taubman work. A seed of hope grew that through studying this knowledge, I might one day be able to reach a higher level of facility and artistry. Little did I know how much my playing and life path would be enriched by the learning ahead.
Since then, I have had the great fortune of several intensive study periods in New York City with Edna, travelled to NYC a dozen times, and bridged the thousands of miles between us with many wonderful online lessons since 2009, for which I am ever grateful. Through Edna’s masterful skills, I have been able to pursue a possibility of pursuing a pathway in music to the fullest, and now lead a rich and full life of teaching and disseminating the Taubman work, and performing at a high level with wonderful musicians that I adore.
As my playing has developed over the course of our careful, detailed work together, I have not only been able to perform increasingly difficult repertoire, but to be completely present to the music when performing. The performance anxiety that I previously struggled with has long dissolved. It is an incredible feeling to walk onto the stage, feeling secure that every obstacle has been thoroughly worked through, and that the performance can be just as secure as in the practice room, allowing my attention to be solely focused on responding to and shaping the music. As our work together has deepened, it has been a great joy to experience and understand the indivisible nature of technique and artistry, and that these elements that were previously somewhat mystical or unreliable for me are in fact learnable, and teachable.
I have also been extremely fortunate to observe many hours of Edna’s life-changing teaching, from putting severely injured students back together step by step with kindness and deep patience, to working with incredible artists at the highest level seeking to develop their capacity still further. I will also never forget the lessons I observed with Edna and Sophie Till, witnessing Edna’s brilliant, agile and flexible thinking in developing an equally profound and far-reaching pedagogical system of understanding for stringed instruments. Over the years, I have received invaluable feedback in presenting my own students, with many memorable moments of Edna skillfully navigating them through gnarly, complex situations through to transformational breakthroughs. I deeply value her ongoing mentoring, guidance, and friendship.
The most profound learning for me through my studies with Edna is that there is always hope, even when hope is lost, and there is always an answer, albeit some more layered than others. Her skill, intuition and insight based on experience combined with formidable musicianship has been an ongoing model to aspire to, and certainly the inspiration for me to work so hard to attain certification with the Golandsky Institute and bring this vital body of knowledge to my country. I look forward to many more years of our work together, and as always, am excited and curious as to what the next lesson might reveal. Even after all these years, the solutions can still be surprising, and I am thrilled to discover new learnings in each lesson. Thank you for everything dear Edna.