Dedicated to the
integration of heart, mind, body, music, and piano
in teaching, learning, and performance
Statements from students
"Meeting Teresa Dybvig was one of the luckiest choices in my life. Pre-Terry, I had grown so frustrated with my way of learning piano: I could learn pieces within my technical grasp quickly and with ease, but the slightest challenge beyond my established skill set would be impossible for me. Terry really broke down each technical issue I encountered. There would be lessons where we focused on only three or four measures, and I believe these were the most concentrated - and productive - learning experiences I've ever had. She also helped me to consider the musical landscape of pieces as a whole and to interpret for myself, not merely play dynamics that a teacher had dictated. She's taught me how to prepare mentally and technically for public performances so much that I'm starting to look forward to them.
Terry is also an incredibly generous and caring person whom I consider one of my greatest mentors and friends. I'll always miss the 'power poses', courage cookies, performance scripts, and countless other little memories that I've collected under my mere two years under her tutelage. Thanks for everything, Terry."
"Before studying with Teresa Dybvig, I had studied with several prominent teachers of the Taubman Technique for nine years. Although I made some progress, it was not until I started studying with Terry that my technique finally came together. She was the first teacher I met who thoroughly understood the reasons my technique had failed to function optimally in my previous years of study. One of the problems I was having was discomfort in my fingertips with every note I played, an "electric shock" feeling that even traveled up my arm. Terry saw, more clearly than my previous teachers, that I had serious defects in my alignment and orientation to the piano; my approach to playing the piano was one of collapsing, both in my shoulders and especially in my hands and fingers. Terry helped me regain my proper posture and hand shape, and realigned me so I no longer collapsed in my knuckles which, over time, has eliminated the sensation.
Terry not only was able to balance my body; her focus is always on musical expression. She has a unique gift of balancing the teaching of technical skills with the expression of music. I am finally beginning to be where I want to be in my piano playing. I am convinced that this is due to Terry's high quality teaching."
"Teresa Dybvig is an understanding teacher who not only diagnoses physical and musical issues in one's playing, but also listens to what the pianist/student is experiencing. She is extremely analytical and straightforward in her communication to a student. Every time I play for her I walk away with new ideas to work through and I always end up playing more solidly and more musically. She has helped me understand how to sit properly, how to achieve good balance and release of the arm and how to comfortably use the body while playing in the extreme ends of the keyboard. Due to her wonderful ear, she has also helped me to play with more clarity, focus and color."
"The past three and a half years of studying with Terry has been a truly enlightening experience. An intelligent and sincere person, Terry possesses an understanding of music which exceeds stylistic boundaries, and a very positive attitude toward teaching. In passing on her incredible insights on piano technique, she has taught me how to work past creative boundaries, nurturing my imagination and relationship with the piano."
"I suppose that I would describe myself as the ultimate control woman, one who spent a fair number of years as the maker of my own destiny. People that fall into this "driven" category manage to get a fair amount accomplished, but in my case, my ambition, paired with a faulty technique, was a recipe for disaster.
In the spring of 1994, I performed the MacDowell Piano Concerto No. 2 with the LaCrosse Symphony, just six weeks after giving birth to my third child. I knew it wasn't good timing, but I just couldn't let the opportunity go by. It was a real push. Three months after the performance, my RH index finger began to curl under ever so subtly. I tried rectifying the problem with homemade stints, but the curling only worsened. By the following year, I was unable to use my RH for typing and piano playing and resorted to LH repertoire exclusively.
The search for a cure was a long bedraggled journey from orthopedics to physical therapy to occupational therapy to rolfing to acupuncture .etc. I received an endless stream of theories that brought no relief and more frustration. At the end of this line of ineffectual local help came a referral to see Dr. Alice Brandfonbrener in Chicago. She gave me a diagnosis of focal dystonia, and the cheery news that I would never play solo repertoire again. Depressing, to say the least.
A few months passed and I had to opportunity to share my story with a colleague from Luther College in Decorah, IA. He remembered that Bob Shannon, an old college friend and current faculty at Oberlin Conservatory, had some relief from a playing-related injury and suggested that I call him for advice. Mr. Shannon was sympathetic and recommended a trip to New York City to see either Dorothy Taubman or Edna Golandsky. His kind words offered a glimmer of hope!
Edna was fabulous in our first meeting. She guided me through that initial lesson and several sessions at the Taubman Institute the following summer with great care and thoughtful consideration of every aspect of my hand. Once I gave myself over the wisdom of the work, I made slow but sure improvement. I eventually was able to play one note without my hand collapsing! At the end of the summer session, it was clear that I needed to continue lessons and would need to find a teacher willing to make regular trips to the Midwest.
Teresa Dybvig was facilitating a support group at the Institute that summer which I attended regularly. Her direct but compassionate manner, coupled with the fact that she was willing to travel to teach the Taubman work, inspired me to return home and find a studio full of interested pianists willing to share expenses for her travel. That was the fall of 1996. Her teaching was so successful that her studio has grown to include studios in the Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago areas as well as in LaCrosse.
Teresa Dybvig's persistent work and insightful eyes in the Midwest has brought healing to my hands and those of many others who were searching for answers. Terry and Edna belied that "experts" who said that I would never play again. They restored to me the joy of playing the piano. Today I don't even consider myself someone who has dystonia. It is a thing of the past. I currently perform regularly as Assistant Professor of Music at Viterbo University, and play for services, sometimes several in a week, as Director of Music at Roncalli Newman Center. I will be forever grateful for this tremendous gift in my life."
Dr. Mary Ellen
"I had the wonderful experience of studying piano with Teresa for four years while I completed my undergraduate education. Working with Teresa during those years was immensely rewarding. Her untiring dedication and commitment to my pianistic, musical and personal growth were crucial to development in many areas of my life.
When I first began studying with Terry, I was severely injured as a result of problems in my playing. Her expertise and knowledge of technical matters were invaluable as she led me through an intense and rewarding transformation. My hands and technique were improved so that I could return to playing unencumbered by pain and with a level of control over sound that I had not previously experienced. I am fortunate to have been able to study with Terry, as her extensive experience working with injured pianists enables her to give her students the skills to play with technical efficiency and musicality.
Working with Terry in piano lessons was always a pleasure and always fascinating. Her tremendous perception resulted in well-focused lessons. She was able to uncover the crucial issues so that our efforts could be maximally directed to solve problems technically and musically. As Terry was concerned with my own teaching improvement, she gave me many opportunities to observe her working with other students. One of her exceptional qualities as a teacher is her ability to tailor her teaching style to the individual needs of the student. She is able to convey the same principle to many different students using many different approaches. All of her students that I have come to know recognize the extraordinary value of her teaching and are fostered by her dedication to their progress. Teresa's truly unique abilities as a teacher, combined with her dedication, enthusiasm and mentorship, have an important influence on all of her students."
Tanya Bertram, Ph.D.
"I have been studying piano with Teresa Dybvig for the past six years and have found the experience to be invaluable to me, both as a teacher and a performer. I initially began working with Terry when one of my students became injured, and I wanted to be able to help guide the student. After several lessons and an opportunity to attend the Taubman Institute, I learned not only how valuable the approach was for injury rehabilitation and prevention, but also how wonderful the technique is for fluency and beauty of tone. The opportunity to work one on one with a highly trained Taubman teacher in Teresa has been a huge blessing for me. My technique and tone production have improved dramatically, and Teresa's musical insights have been particularly helpful. She is a wonderful teacher and musician."
Dr. Richard Lange,
"You are a terrific teacher, Terry, and I want to thank you so much for being willing to travel so much in order to help all of us. If it weren't for you, I know that I wouldn't be playing the piano!"