A Tribute to Alexander Peskanov & The Russian Technical Regimen
Why It Matters – How It Helped
by Judith S. Siegel, NCTM
As a music educator for over 40 years, a challenge occurred over 15 years ago. First some background.
Education taught me that the study of music is very much a sport. Just like any sport, one needs to warm up first to protect the precious muscles, tendons and nerves. A student would not dance without warming up at the barre first; a gymnist would not approach the parallel bars or trampoline bounce without warming up first; and, the football or baseball player would not begin play on the field without warming up first. We all do it for the same reason – to protect our muscles, tendons and nerves. This is why the Russian Technical Regimen matters so much – it teaches us how to protect our muscles, tendons and nerves. For that, we have Alexander Peskanov to thank, for penning what Professor Theodor Leschetizky taught.
How it helped me and then my students is a very personal story. Music and piano have been a part of my life since I was seven years old. About 15-16 years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Choosing life, there was a mastectomy and the months of healing and recovery. During that time, it was impossible, in the beginning, to play a single note on the piano. After some research and obtaining my doctor's permission, I began anew, but this time, with the Russian Technical
Regimen. Ever so slowly, inching ahead a fraction each day, my muscles, tendons and nerves began to heal and become stronger. The scales came slowly as did the 4-note blocked and broken chords. Next came the Russian Broken Chords and the Arpeggios. Finally, almost 4 years later, my arm allowed me the joy of playing Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Leschetizky, Mozart and Peskanov again!
So you see, I know it works!!! And that's why every student who walks in my door from that moment on learns the Russian Technical Regimen, from the ground up, because it will protect their precious muscles, tendons and nerves and keep them safe!
Together we also have shared the joy of music through Piano Olympics many times, and I look forward to bringing Alek to Florida in the near future.
Collaboration with Alexander Peskanov is a special treasure to me. We – teacher and student alike - must thank him for all that he has given music education over the years.