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I think you have to be at least 50 for this one (and probably gullible too). Does anyone remember the Cowling Institute, and their Finger Magic exercises? These were a series of 12 rather poorly printed exercises advertised in the national press and sent by post weekly to the aspiring musician, mainly pianists I would think. They were done away from the instrument, for two sessions of 10 minutes a day.
I sent off my 12/6 or whatever it was in 1974 (no, it must have been decimal then). I'm afraid I didn't complete them as diligently as I should. I still have all the info, so I might start again. I'll let you know if they work, if I get to the finish that is.
Searching through some old stuff I too came across my preserved set of pictures and accompanying instructions (1964) - off I went to cut a pecil to five and three quarter inches length just to see if it might improve my octave playing. In passing the computer I thought I'd try Google with "Cowling Institute" and low and behold it put me quickly to this forum site (but no other so I guess Cowling has long since gone down the plughole).
I found it useful though I'm not much for 'mind over matter' approaches usually. Interestingly I also came across a letter from one 'James Ching - Professional Services' - this too was forty years old. If you can remember James Ching perhaps you went to your cinema to see Charlie Chan now and then?
My father (the late Peter Scott, an Alexander teacher of some renown) learned piano with (the late) James Ching and I have just had a lovely conversation with his daughter, who still runs James Ching Professional Services mentioned in a previous post.
I was quite interested in your reply - please forgive my late response, you see, I only rarely look at this forum. For some reason or other, now forgotten, I too was at one time in touch with the James Ching Professional Services (maybe over forty years ago). 'Google' tells me that it is still up and running. Your father's connections with James Ching provide an interesting point of history.
Frederick G Page
Just the other day I was searching Google for the Cowling Institute lessons and I found this forum. I'm not a pianint, I'm a guitarist. I have gone through the course back in 76?. They heled me out lots. Does anyone have any info on them, that link don't work. Sure hope they are still somewhere and they didn't find that "plughole" I guess that means sinks drain, across the water?
SirTK wrote:Try this
Thank you for the link, some of the exercises are missing from the original course; "THE FIST & THE CLAW" Otherwise its all there.I am a guitarist who was introduced to the Cowling System by a violinist in his seventies, who had amazing dexterity on his instrument for his age. He had sent away for the course in the 1930's. He let me borrow the brown envelope with the photos and instructions. I would, and have recommended this system to anyone wanting to improve their dexterity on any instrument. I have been using the exercises since the 1980's and believe me they work.
It's still available from CafePress, here:
And, If you aren't familiar with the Cowling System and you'd like to know more, here's the website which features it:
http://www.make-music-better.com/hand-s ... tem-2.html
As the other musicians in this thread state: It can definitely revolutionize your technique and ability.. I use it, and yes, it does work. ~ George Hirsch, pianist and guitarist, NYC
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