I've heard a lot of different things about arm weight and about the different "schools". I'm sure lots of it is misinformation, and I'd appreciate hearing what everyone here opines on the subject.
I've had various piano teachers
urge me to play with the "weight from the shoulders." People call it the "Russian" method and recently someone told me this was the method developed by Fanz Liszt, no less, and I've heard countless people say it is the only "true" way to play piano.
To this day, I never understood what the hell they were talking about. I imagine the basic idea is that you kind of "dig in" or weigh down with your shoulder, so that the bulk of the force doesn't have to come from the fingers. But whenever I do this it's just uncomfortable. Moreover, I've heard performances from people who use the shoulder method and I've always found their tone too heavy, especially when playing pp
. By contrast, I tend to be more drawn to pianists who supposedly represent the French school of playing (e.g. Pascal Rogé, Jean-Marrie Darré). I read somewhere that this method is more about finger work (like harpsichord technique, I guess), but that this leads to injuries (which I know from experience to be true).
Yesterday, after 20 years of hearing people preach the shoulder method and having no one to defend my feelings against it, I came across a youtube video on the Taubman approach (thanks for the link, costas22), in which a Taubman expert explicitly states that the weight should not
come from the shoulders, because this restricts action (as I always suspected), but rather from the forearm. Now this makes sense to me, and I began practicing with this approach and gotten wonderful results so far.
There is also a German school; but I've never heard it explained.
So from what I've said, what parts are myth and fact, and most importantly, which approach do you recommend?
I know there are techniques likes this but I really don't follow them, well I am somehow stubborn like my previous piano teacher said. Have you heard about the Taubman approach? It somehow works for me, well sometimes.