Exploring Natalia Pirozerskaya's piano method and teaching philosophy : an intrinsic case study
Tsihelashvili, Olga Vladimirovna
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The aim of this research was to explore the piano method and teaching philosophy practised by the Russian piano pedagogue, Natalia Pirozerskaya. Her piano method is not well known and as a former student of hers I firmly believe in its values and implications for piano pedagogy. The focus of her teaching is a holistic concept of the harmonious (organic) development of the artist-musician as expounded by Yakovlev in relation to vocal art and higher nervous activity. Pirozerskaya’s piano methodology addresses the delicate relations between the inner life of the individual and the process of piano playing. She advocates a self-connected pianism characterised by the integration of all processes with the self. Pirozerskaya links the aesthetic values of Glinka’s artistic tradition to piano pedagogy in relation to creative potentialities and self-expression. The participants of this intrinsic case study were Natalia Pirozerskaya, Olga Tsihelashvili (the researcher) and five of Tsihelashvili’s piano students in Johannesburg. I interviewed the five piano students and through validation strategy of crystallisation the themes emerged. Based on the interviews with the students several themes were identified: 1) They explained that they experience an interconnected unity which can be described as oneness; 2) There was also a sense of deep fondness in the way the pupils shared their feelings about the piano; 3) They pinpointed the existence of an inner driving force – a form of artistic energy emerging as a tangible component of their pianistic process; 4) Concerning the special piano touch advocated by Pirozerskaya, all the students unanimously agreed that it is an effortless transmission from the fingertips straight into the piano which “just happens by itself”. They willingly demonstrated this touch on the piano, thus enriching the evidence; 5) With regard to the physical interaction with the instrument, the students observed the element of the opposing spring-support and the feeling of lightness in the body, essential in Pirozerskaya’s piano technique; 6) They mentioned that when they play they experience a deeper perception of the self; 7) Regarding teaching strategies, a rigid teaching approach and inexpressive mechanical piano playing, their spontaneous reactions proved that they have assimilated the fundamentals of Pirozerskaya’s self-connected pianism and developed a deep insight into the pianistic process.
- Humanities