Degree: BM piano performance, Northwestern University,
Currently: working towards Masters degree in piano performance, Indiana University, Bloomington. Piano student, private piano teacher.
How long have you worked with Robert Durso? About six months.
What have you gained from the Taubman Approach? My health, my self-esteem, and my purpose in life. Also, the ability to play the piano again.
Have you been injured and what was the nature of the injury? I had several kinds of injuries over about a five year period which began during my undergraduate studies and culminated in my being forced to leave graduate school unable to play enough to continue studying or obtain my degree. My symptoms included muscle pain and fatigue, weakness, numbness, tingling, and a temporary and complete loss of strength in one hand. I have been diagnosed with a pinched nerve, tendinitis, and an RSI, which is the medical term for “you’re doing something wrong, but I have no idea what it is or how to fix it.” In fact, I was experiencing chronic muscle pain due to trigger points, which are very small and painful muscle knots that form as the body’s defense mechanism against improper and potentially damaging use of the body. At the time I discovered the existence of trigger points, I had developed them in essentially every muscle in my forearms, upper arms, and shoulders, and also in my back and neck.
Why do you work with Robert Durso? Having suffered through school depite my injuries, I left one of the top music programs in the country with a mechanism so deteriorated I was unable to play the piano for more than a few minutes at a time without pain. It was not easy for me to accept that despite years of practice and hard work, after conscienciously assimilating all of the technical advice of my professors, and having undergone every medical treatment and therapy imaginable, I would have to leave school without my degree because I could no longer play. It was even harder for me to continue to hope that recovery was still possible for me and to gather the courage to start over and retrain from the beginning. But coming to study the Taubman approach with Robert Durso turned out to be the best decision of my life. Now, only six months later, I am playing passages from repertoire more clearly and evenly than ever before and with an effortlessness that I never imagined possible. It has been an exhilarating process of transformation, and I am confident that I will continue to learn and eventually attain a higher potential than I had previously thought possible.
How would you describe his character? He is very kind, patient, funny, enthusiastic, encouraging, detail-oriented, and extremely hard-working.
Anything else you would like to add? Mr. Durso is the most knowledgeable, skilled, patient, articulate, enthusiastic, supportive, and motivated teacher I have ever had the privilege to study with. He has dedicated himself to mastering the teaching of this remarkable body of knowledge as thoroughly as possible and I feel incredibly happy and fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from him.
My studies with Mr. Durso have and will continue to change my life. Already, they have ended the misery and despair that I felt for so long and given me not just hope, but absolute confidence, that I have found the cure to my injuries and that I will continue to improve. As a result of my experience with playing-related injuries, I have become acutely aware of the extent of the physical and emotional suffering among music students and professional musicians today. As I searched everywhere for a solution, I resolved that if I were ever to discover it, I would make it my life’s work to share it with as many other students as possible. Mr. Durso is the most fantastic role model I can imagine for doing exactly that.