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#1876433 - 04/09/12 08:18 PM Abby Whiteside
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I was cleaning and reorganizing my bookshelves this weekend, when I came across a book I purchased back in the mid to late '90s, Abby Whiteside on Piano playing. I've been rereading it, and finding it much more relevant today than when I first read it.

My first question is directed at teachers who are relatively recent grads (10 - 15 yrs or so) - did you have a survey course or some kind of class where different playing philosophies, and teaching philosophies (on actual piano playing mechanics) were discussed? If so, did you cover Ms. Whiteside's teaching at all?

My second question, or perhaps more of an observation, is that a lot of her teaching seems to have been adopted, even if she's not getting credit for it.

Thoughts?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1876461 - 04/09/12 09:01 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5425
Loc: Orange County, CA
Nope. Never heard of her.
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#1876585 - 04/10/12 12:56 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
Abby Whiteside's Indispensibles of Piano Playing was the first book referenced in my pedagogy class. She is brilliant and I always learn something from reading her books, no matter how many times I've read them.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#1876600 - 04/10/12 01:59 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Peter K. Mose Online   content
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Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1319
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
John, thanks for reminding us of her name. It's funny that nobody ever started a Whiteside Society in her honor. I always liked what I read, and still recall a couple of her helpful and vivid metaphors.

Too bad I know of no films of her teaching.

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#1876680 - 04/10/12 08:52 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: Peter K. Mose]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Minaku, thanks for the information. I wonder how deeply the text delved into her methods and how they summarized it.

Peter, I think there is some effort in that direction. See Whiteside Foundation.

AZN, it would appear that a large number of Asian teachers are at least incorporating some of her body rhythm ideas into their teaching, even if they are not crediting her by name.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1876715 - 04/10/12 09:52 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
My teacher used many of her principles and they completely reshaped my approach to technique. I remember learning about her book in my pedagogy classes also (back in the early '80s!)
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B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1876719 - 04/10/12 09:54 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
I had a teacher who was a real Hanon fan so I always regarded Whiteside as I don't know... they enemy? Enemy is perhaps too much of a strong word ... antithesis, yes... and so I never really read too much into Whiteside, having said that I've only recently discovered it's ok to not agree with my teacher (at least in certain areas), maybe it's worth a read... at least from what you have just said.
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http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1876720 - 04/10/12 09:54 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
My teacher used Hanon with me, but applied Whiteside principles in its use.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1876731 - 04/10/12 10:28 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Virginia, USA
While not a piano teacher, I have read her book, and as a musician found it useful. It's been a while though.

IIRC, her ideas were the basis for much of c.c. chang's Fundamentals of Piano Practice.

(another book I found useful, but most here will disagree)
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gotta go practice

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#1876737 - 04/10/12 10:50 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: Peter K. Mose]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose

Too bad I know of no films of her teaching.

Which made me curious, because I heard of her a while back. There are a few videos out there where teachers try to illustrate some teachings of her. This teacher is mesmerizing. He mentions a Whiteside concept at 2:50 in the 1st video, and at 30:00 in the 2nd video.
James Boyk - Whiteside's "Outlining" - go to 2:50
James Boyk - Talks about Whiteside - start at 30:00

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#1876798 - 04/10/12 01:10 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Keystring, thank you for sharing these great links to James Boyk's instruction. He is quite impressive in his teaching.

I noticed that he suggests to ignore Whitesides lst volume "Indispensables", and focus on 2nd volume "Mastering the Chopin Etudes" which was published after her death. Boyk dismissed Volume I as having the message that the fingers don't matter. Boyk compares piano playing to a car and whether you need wheels. Yes, you need wheels, but the power does not come from the wheels. Anyway, he heartily endorsed 2nd volume saying he has used it and it works.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1876827 - 04/10/12 01:51 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
He says that Whiteside refined her approach later on. So originally Whiteside dismissed fingers completely and later she realized that they play a role which can't be ignored. I imagine that she herself wouldn't have wanted her first book studied after she revised her thoughts.

I saw various videos with teachers representing bits of Whiteside but this is the one that was convincing to me. I see a musician who relates to playing in a full way and uses Whiteside's ideas as part of it, rather than someone looking for a formula. I also had the impression that he was gearing his teaching to his student, not at all heavy handed. I liked the whole thing. smile


Edited by keystring (04/10/12 02:18 PM)
Edit Reason: changed "she" to "Whiteside"

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#1876915 - 04/10/12 04:12 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I'm not so certain she dismissed the roles of fingers as much as she dismissed the role of training the fingers alone, especially as independent agents as you get in Hannon. Independent of the movements of shoulder, arm, both upper and forearm, and hand (wrist).
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1876951 - 04/10/12 05:11 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
there are several you tube videos 'demonstrating her technique

- here's one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeUxlFhHZEI

Probably not a book that I could find at my local library. I'll try and find this book tho. Thanks edit: $250 new from Amazon? it must have some good information in it.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1876962 - 04/10/12 05:39 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
I'm not so certain she dismissed the roles of fingers as much as she dismissed the role of training the fingers alone, especially as independent agents as you get in Hannon. Independent of the movements of shoulder, arm, both upper and forearm, and hand (wrist).

John, the prof. talking about it said that Whiteside wrote two books, and in the second she included the fingers which had not been so in the first. I am wondering whether the book you have is her second book, which he recommended to his student. This one was written later, when she had developed her ideas further.

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#1877032 - 04/10/12 07:53 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
She never said anything about the fingers not mattering. I cannot recall an instance in Indispensibles where she flat out dismisses the role of the fingers in the playing mechanism. They need to be strong, as they are the focus of the energy that begins in the torso and flows out into the piano. She just did not emphasize finger-only exercises as so many other teachers did.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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#1877058 - 04/10/12 08:47 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
I went back to the section of the video that I tried to paraphrase this morning following Anne's reference to the tire metaphor. It goes as follows:

Her 2 books are collated in one volume. You can ignore the first one in it, which is called "Indispensably of Piano Playing", in which she virtually says that the fingers had nothing to do with playing the piano at all. And later you will not be surprised to hear - she changed her mind about that.
(He goes on with the car tire metaphor - That a car cannot move without wheels, even though the energy does not come from the wheels.) continues The second volume has the very modest title "Mastering the Chopin Etudes and other Essays". He goes on to tell his student how he, as a student, tried what was in that book for one Chopin Etude and the success that he had in front of his teacher. This is the book he is recommending his student.

I have no way of knowing whether this is true, and was simply paraphrasing what this particular teacher says in the video of his lesson. He also demonstrates two of Whiteside's ideas in the two links that I put up earlier.

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#1877139 - 04/10/12 10:34 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: apple*]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: apple*
Thanks edit: $250 new from Amazon? it must have some good information in it.

Yes, I see Amazon has it in paperback for $250. So I checked ebay. The book is in with a group of books for the buy it now price of under $25. And it's hardcover.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1877446 - 04/11/12 11:33 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Keystring, I have a combined volume, which includes the Indispensables of Piano Playing and the more recent Mastering the Chopin Etudes.

There's a lot of meat in both books. In the former, she raises 23 questions on "traditional" piano teaching, many of which we've raised here on this forum. Some of the questions include:
"Should the hand be trained for action independent of the arm?"
"Should the fingers be trained to find the key - to reach for positions?"
"Should Hanon and Czerny have a high rating as material to be used?"
"Are scales desirable at an early stage as a means for developing fluency?"

I could easily post a question a week for discussion!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1877456 - 04/11/12 11:57 AM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook


I could easily post a question a week for discussion!


I hope you do!

I've considered buying the book. I have reservations due to the author's lack of clarity in writing, and the lack of needed editing (as described in several reviews on Amazon). I have a feeling that someone has summed up the ideas tidily in another book. Just a guess. But which book?


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (04/11/12 12:03 PM)
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1877459 - 04/11/12 12:04 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Keystring, I have a combined volume, which includes the Indispensables of Piano Playing and the more recent Mastering the Chopin Etudes.

There's a lot of meat in both books. In the former, she raises 23 questions on "traditional" piano teaching, many of which we've raised here on this forum. Some of the questions include:
"Should the hand be trained for action independent of the arm?"
"Should the fingers be trained to find the key - to reach for positions?"
"Should Hanon and Czerny have a high rating as material to be used?"
"Are scales desirable at an early stage as a means for developing fluency?"

I could easily post a question a week for discussion!

(Maybe posting a question a week is not a bad idea! smile )

I have one: Do you have any thoughts on Whiteside's idea of "outlining" as illustrated at the 2:50 mark here:
Outlining illustrated at 2:50

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#1877477 - 04/11/12 12:26 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring

(Maybe posting a question a week is not a bad idea! smile )

I have one: Do you have any thoughts on Whiteside's idea of "outlining" as illustrated at the 2:50 mark here: Outlining illustrated at 2:50

We often use "outlining" as a memorization technique. Quite effective, actually. However, here she uses outlining as a guide to moving the torso, so that you feel the rhythm and your body is in the correct place at the correct moment for playing that rapid/difficult passage.

In her first book, she tells of using outlining to teach the Bach C minor prelude (BWV 927) to a complete beginner (adult) successfully, and up to tempo!
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1877487 - 04/11/12 12:31 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

In her first book, she tells of using outlining to teach the Bach C minor prelude (BWV 927) to a complete beginner (adult) successfully, and up to tempo!

That may explain why he chose the C minor in particular in his example. Thank you.

I was seeing it as a good way of getting the general flow of a piece or section by being able to sketch out the general movement, and then filling in the notes afterward. It seems to have multiple uses then.


Edited by keystring (04/11/12 12:36 PM)
Edit Reason: added 2nd part

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#1877492 - 04/11/12 12:36 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: keystring]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Virginia, USA
No............puzzled............the beginner is an adult, not a minor at all.
_________________________
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#1877495 - 04/11/12 12:38 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
I have a feeling that someone has summed up the ideas tidily in another book. Just a guess. But which book?


cc chang believes he has done so.

While I sense some disagreement here, I think you could make the case that he has tried.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1877511 - 04/11/12 01:05 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: TimR
No............puzzled............the beginner is an adult, not a minor at all.

I'm totally confused. The only "minor" mentioned by anyone was the name of a piece, which is in the key of C minor - not the student! John talked about Abby Whiteside using the concept of outlining to teach Bach's C minor Prelude to an adult beginner. I referred to the clips by teacher James Boyk, who is introducing the concept to a class of advanced students. In another clip he is working with a student on Debussy's L'Isle Joyeuse, and then mentions outlining to her. In illustrating the idea, he plays a bit of the C minor Prelude. That is what I was referring to.

What beginner are you talking about?

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#1877580 - 04/11/12 03:01 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: apple*]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7316
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: apple*
Probably not a book that I could find at my local library. I'll try and find this book tho. Thanks edit: $250 new from Amazon? it must have some good information in it.

You can find it at Hal Leonard Books for $19.95. See here.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1877812 - 04/11/12 09:42 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

You can find it at Hal Leonard Books for $19.95. See here.

Thanks for finding this John. That's a reasonable price.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

Top
#1877820 - 04/11/12 09:55 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
What a surprise! I looked at our local library online and I see that Abby Whiteside's book is available. Can't believe it! I'll plan to get over there soon and check it out. Yea!
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

Top
#1877824 - 04/11/12 09:58 PM Re: Abby Whiteside [Re: John v.d.Brook]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
what a surprise.. Bach: Bach C minor prelude (BWV 927) and Mastering the Chopin Etudes.. I am already in love with her.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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