All the latest news, reviews, events and tips from Piano-Yoga®, a unique holistic method of piano playing, performing and teaching, created by Russian virtuoso pianist, GéNIA, for all levels of pianists.
“The 21st-Century Answer to playing the piano." - Yoga & Health Magazine.
Congratulations to Catherine Lieben, a student of Piano-Yoga® and a pupil of GéNIA, for winning the Wendy Wilson Trophy from the Woodely Festival of Music and Arts 2016. The trophy is awarded to the most promising performer in the adult class. Catherine was performing Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in B minor, Op.32 No. 10.
Catherine has been studying with GéNIA for over five years and regularly takes part in many music festivals across the UK.
For more information on the Festival please see their website www.woodelyfestival.org.uk
The next Piano-Yoga® students’ concert will take place on the 23d of July 2016 at Schott Music, 48 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7BB at 6:30pm. At the concert there will be an opportunity to listen to many students studying the Piano-Yoga®method, including Catherine Lieben, and meet them after the concert.
The idea of setting up the Piano-Yoga® Club came to fruition last year, after I received numerous emails and requests from our lovely supporters. Now, looking back, after having done five Piano-Yoga® Clubs, I must admit that it has been not only very productive, but also a very moving experience for me. By now we have some long-standing loyal supporters, whom I call ‘Piano-Yoga® Veterans’, and, at the same time, we continuously have new guests, often those who are visiting London and come just for one event.
I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the feedback that I have received, and this is what gives me growing confidence in the usefulness of Piano-Yoga®. Whether you have stage fright issues, problems with the technique, pains in your body that relate to or arise from practising, Piano-Yoga® has something to offer everyone. Bringing yoga into piano playing, from the anatomical and psychological point of view, dramatically changes one’s attitude to piano playing and therefore to playing itself.
Last time we had guests from the Unites States and also from the other cities in the UK. I now have been asked to organise similar events online, as for many of you it is not easy to come to London. I promise to work on that, and we will try to do something as soon as possible.
Meanwhile here is some of the feedback that I received:
‘An excellent class taught by an excellent teacher! The class is one of a kind in London!’ Salman
‘Very useful! Practising revamped:-) Maybe more events outside of London?’ Liz
‘Very helpful indeed, especially structuring one’s practice time. Plus I feel more energised and more alert after doing your recommended exercises!’ Deborah
‘Another very illuminating Piano-Yoga® Club – I really enjoyed it and looking forward to applying some of the techniques!’ S.P.C.
‘Always very insightful and helpful!’ Olivia
Thank you very much again, and I wish you all wonderful and fruitful 2016!
Looking forward to seeing you at our Piano-Yoga® Club events!
GéNIA recently wrote a blog titled ‘Maintaining Concentration in Piano Playing and Practice’ for the website of the renowned pianist, teacher, adjudicator, author and blogger Melanie Spanswick.
Here is the extract from the article:
‘Often pianists mistakenly believe that many of their challenges manifest due to a lack of practice or lack of skills, rarely being aware that they could simply exist due to a lack of concentration. We all know about the cases where pianists work for hours, only to collapse later in their pubic performance, either playing for a group of people or just for one person! They blame themselves, and very often feel inadequate. With stress building up, and feelings of disappointment making them feeling ‘not good enough’, they do start playing even worse than they were playing before and, on some occasions, even stop playing altogether, while developing an ever-growing guilt complex. Little do they know that often this issue could be easily addressed, sometimes with only a very slight adjustment. All they need to do is just to be aware!’
We had a fantastic concert of GéNIA’s students at Piano-Yoga® School (Concert No 22!) last weekend. Students ranged from age 7 to over 60 and the programme included works by JS. Bach, F. Chopin, F. Poulenc, M. Ponce, A. Ginastera, C. Debussy (Petite Suite for 4 Hands) and S Rachmaninoff (Suite No.2 for Two Pianos).
GéNIA also took part and Premiered her composition for solo piano ‘Midnight Dream’.
As usual the party at Schott Music Hall continued with the afterparty at one of the beautiful French restaurants in Soho. The students and their guests had a great time!
Regular bi-annual concerts became a great tradition at Piano-Yoga® School, as GéNIA believes that through public performance one can really learn the piece. ‘You usually need to perform the piece up to five times in public, before you can confidently say that you have learned it.’ says GéNIA.
Now we are looking forward to a fresh start in 2016 and the next concert scheduled for June!
The concerts provide an excellent platform not only for learning the pieces, but also for practising to perform before important exams and other performances. Our guests usually come from all walks of life ( sometimes literally people who are wandering in the shop at that moment) and it gives students a fantastic incentive and feeling of achievement.
If you would like to become a student at Piano-Yoga®, you are welcome to visit our concerts or simply send us an email to arrange a consolation for you.
We are happy to offer a special discount on Assessment Lessons with GéNIA for this autumn. The offer is valid until the 30th of November 2015 and is also available through Skype.
If you are interested in finding out more about Piano-Yoga® and would like to get feedback from GéNIA directly about your piano playing and practice, an Assessment Lesson could be perfect for you. It is designed specifically for pianists wanting a one-off induction with the founder of Piano-Yoga® herself. The session will focus on the development of a bespoke personal practice plan to help you achieve your aims; whether you are a professional pianist, amateur, conservatoire student, teacher or the parent of a budding young pianist, Assessment Lessons offer something for everyone:
‘I’d highly recommend it… GéNIA is an inspiring teacher and gifted pianist – I couldn’t wait to play piano when I retuned home’
Karen Marshall – Music Teacher Magazine
Click here for more information and to book your ticket.
We are very excited to let you know that the Piano-Yoga® Teacher Training Programme has almost been finalised. GéNIA has been working very hard to create a simple and structured method which will be easy to learn for those who would like to become a certified Piano-Yoga® Teacher.
To help us to put the finishing touches to the course, we would be the most grateful if you could let us know how many of you are seriously interested in becoming qualified Piano-Yoga® teachers by emailing us as well as enclosing the details of your current qualifications in piano performance and/or teaching, and the level of your experience in practising yoga. Please also indicate if you will be prepared to take an online Piano-Yoga® course in case you cannot attend the course in person. Anyone who emails us will automatically receive a special early bird concession for the Piano-Yoga® Teacher Training Course.
Next Piano-Yoga® Club on the 4th November at 7pm at Schott Music Shop, 48 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7BB
Conquering Performance Nerves: How to Make Adrenaline Your Best Friend!
If you one of those people who suffers from performance nerves, you will be familiar with the dreadful feeling of stage fright arising within you before you about to start your performance. Instead of ignoring it or feeling sorry for yourself, we can offer you a number of Piano-Yoga® techniques to that could help you to master and transform these feelings.
Have a question for GéNIA? Email us in advance and GéNIA will do her best to answer on the night at the Club!
Click HERE for more information and to book your ticket.
We were delighted with the September Piano-Yoga® Club Launch! Schott Music Shop provided a warm welcome and Steinway grand piano gave a beautiful opportunity for participants to try out various techniques there and then. Having a lovely crowd, with participants including piano teachers and amateur players, we discussed grounding as the main element of any practice, emphasising all the aspects that are necessary for successful piano performance. Trying various exercises, learning about feet (yes feet!), as they provide the foundation for your success, talking about the important role of your abdominal area and, of course, shoulders! The Club over-ran as was expected, but GéNIA was touched with the notes that she received afterwards. The club gathering was truly inspirational and we are looking forward to seeing you at the next one!
Don’t forget that if you have any particular questions or topics that you would like to discuss, please email us in advance and GéNIA will do her best to cover this in her session. The details of the next Piano-Yoga® Club on the 7th of October could be found HERE!
‘I was one revitalised pianist and a teacher ready with a new range of tools to support and develop her students! Thank you GéNIA, this was a five-star course.’
Karen Marshall, Music Teacher Magazine
Want to know more about Piano-Yoga® Club? Why don’t you visit the Piano-Yoga® club, every 1st Wednesday on the month in London. Click HERE for more details.
Recently, I had a number of my friends reporting that when they mentioned my name to their peers the reaction was usually something along the lines of: “Is she really strict?; How scary is she?; Is she nice!?”
When this happened the first time, I thought that particular person probably just had a bad experience with a Russian piano teacher, and I didn’t give it a second thought. However, when one of my student’s friends was shocked on meeting me (I think he was expecting to see a big 60-year-old babushka), that got me thinking… Another time, a student of mine invited me to come and celebrate his birthday (in a club, of all places), and when we were on the dance floor one of his friends asked, “And where is that piano teacher of yours? I knew she wouldn’t show up!” So I just had to introduce myself once again…
Why do English people find us, Russian classical musicians and teachers, so intimidating? I just had to write about this, to get to the bottom of this myth. When I ask, some say that it’s because Russian musicians are famous for having the best technique in the world, and Russian teachers are therefore feared for the big demands they make on their students, expecting them to practise 8 hours a day (my grandmother used to say “Four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening”), and for placing them under considerable pressure to achieve the best possible results.
As teachers, that doesn’t make us unfriendly, cruel or unreasonable; we simply try to teach to the highest level of our ability. Russians sometimes have a reputation for being too straightforward and not very diplomatic. Perhaps… But if you can accept this and get past it, you may be surprised to find a genuine interest and enthusiasm for conveying knowledge to a student to help them realise their full potential. In my memory, my Russian piano teachers (Sergei Yushkevitch, Victor Makarov and Regina Horowitz – although the latter was my great grand mother), never counted the hours when they were teaching; they gave me and many of their other students as much time as was required to teach them, whether it was one hour, three hours or five… The goal was to educate the student however long it took.
Amongst the most famous teachers in the world who were either Russians or taught in Russia using Russian methods were: Anton Rubinstein, John Field, Alexander Villoing, Anton Door, Theodor Leschetizky, Vassili Safonov, Alexandre Siloti (the teacher of Sergei Rachmaninov), Heinrich Neuhaus (teacher of Richter, Gilels and Lupu), Alexandre Goldenweiser (teacher of Bashkirov, Berman and Nikolaieva), Konstantin Igoumnov (teacher of Ashkenazy, Davidovich and Feltsman) and Felix Blumenfeld (teacher of Horowitz) to name a few. They were all famous for their principles and total dedication to music and education. Some of them were stricter then others, but they are all warmly remembered by their students all over the world. I know many current Russian pianists who are both performers and teachers, and I wouldnt associate any of them with the word Scary. Here is an interview with the incredible Russian virtuoso pianist Boris Berezovky, who is the one of the most modest people I have ever met:
So what do you you think – are we, Russian Piano Teachers, really that scary? The only way to find out is to be open-minded and try a few Russian piano teachers.
As for me, you can judge for yourself! : ) Take a look at the clips on the Piano-Yoga® Education Youtube Channel:
Its now time for my piano practice
Come to our newly launched Piano-Yoga® Club every first Wednesday of the month 2015/16 to learn more about the Piano-Yoga® method. Click HERE for more details.