Archive for 2011


Piano-Yoga® in Yoga & Health Mag

December 14th, 2011 — 1:38pm
Piano-Yoga® in Yoga & Health

The cover of Yoga & Health December Edition

Piano-Yoga® has recently been featured in Yoga & Health Magazine (December edition). Find out how GéNIA, the founder of Piano-Yoga®, broke her hand and used Piano-Yoga® to promote a remarkably swift recovery. See how she adapted and expanded the technique to enable her to play Rachmaninoff with her small hands. Described as ‘The first entirely new piano technique to emerge in over 50 years’ Yoga & Health also promotes the lifestyle changes that Piano-Yoga® encourages to help with practice, performance and stress managment.

Click the image to view the review!

‘Piano-Yoga® is something radical.’
‘An ideal way to combine an interest in Yoga with learning the piano.’

Click HERE to read the review
Click HERE to see other reviews of Piano-Yoga®
Click HERE to go to the Yoga & Health Website

The Piano-Yoga Team®

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Piano-Yoga® Christmas SALE

December 12th, 2011 — 2:47pm


Piano-Yoga® would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. To celebrate this festive season we have new products on sale, Christmas vouchers and heavy discounts on our exciting products. Below is a list of all the SALE items with descriptions and links.

We hope you find the perfect gift!

Click HERE to see all of our products on sale.

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‘A Week of Piano and Warm Breezes on the Mediterranean Island of Eternal Springtime’: Guest Blogger Saori Tomoda Shares her Impressions of our Piano-Yoga® Retreat in Cyprus

October 6th, 2011 — 3:59pm

You often hear horrendous stories about the lives of failed pianists: one who suffered an injury, or another who had a big mental break down and lost their lust for life despite being very talented. This retreat really revealed to us how important it is for us pianists to look after our body and to be healthy and live happily.

Yoga practice, breathing work, diet, posture… The list of topics covered was immense. As the week progressed, we felt our goals increasingly becoming within closer reach as we gradually became stronger pianists. Everything felt like it was falling into place. Our bodies and hearts grew lighter and lighter.

The lectures were all excellent – I enjoyed every one. There was so much useful information and the other participants also shared their very interesting experiences. What interested me the most was the ‘Working with Rhythm’ workshop, and it was very exciting for me to be able to work on a Steinway grand. GéNIA showed us how to incorporate breathing into musical phrasing of a piece. With this breathing, I became physically unified with my piece. I had always connected emotionally with the music I play (well, most of the time!) but I had never imagined being able to be at one with a piece physically in such a way. This was a new and thrilling experience.

There were a lot of masterclasses. Different pianists, different problems. We all analysed each other’s playing and benefitted enormously from working as a team.

We were completely detached from the real world over there. We worked on our music and well-being the whole time, with great food, lovely weather and good company.

I’ll never forget the sunset we saw at Aphrodite beach, our cosy chats at the dinner table, our pancake overdose (!) and our brilliant night out on the town… A very big ‘thank you’ to GéNIA and everyone at the retreat. I really REALLY had the time of my life!

Saori

xxx

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The Piano-Yoga® Holistic Lifestyle Approach to the Piano

September 8th, 2011 — 5:10pm
by ~Kacia on Flickr

Vanilla chai and plum pudding by ~Kacia on Flickr

In Piano-Yoga® we believe that creating an optimal environment which promotes the student’s sense of well-being is the best approach to learning the piano.  When we feel relaxed, think positively and our concentration is at its peak, we can learn more quickly and efficiently. In this state, learning can even feel like having fun, where studying and mastering something new become an effortless and pleasurable experience.

It is true that some of the best educational systems (like the Russian school, for example) are based on a strict, disciplined approach to learning, where competition is the upmost motivation for success and the strongest students are stretched to the maximum.  Such systems have produced amazing results, but the weakest emotionally often give up, unable to progress and develop.

Whilst Piano-Yoga® aims to help students to perfect their technique this is only a tool, as our foremost motivation is to make the piano playing process as enjoyable and pleasurable as possible, within the wider framework of the student’s lifestyle.  In order to do this not only do we instruct students specifically in the Piano-Yoga® technique, but we also show them how to efficiently schedule their practice sessions, and how to take care of their health and their body in order to get the most out of their practice and create a positive mindset.

I like to address this issue by using ideas taken from ancient Indian Ayurvedic philosophy – the traditional Hindu system of medicine, based on the idea of bringing balance to the body using diet, herbal treatments, yogic postures and breathing.  In line with the discipline of Ayurveda we ask students to pay attention to what they eat, ask them to monitor how they feel each day, and if they are not happy with the results we teach them how to change their sense of well-being, correcting it through various exercises, simple posture adjustments and the use of aromatherapy.  We very much encourage our students to create a practice environment full of clean energy, and where the student feels comfortable, safe, private and nurtured.

Would you like to try this for yourself?  Here’s what you can do in just one week:

  • Notice when your energy is at its best and try to practise at that time

Are you a morning person or evening? Is the afternoon the best or the worst time for you? Try to practise when you brain is at its best and your muscles are not stiff.

  • Find out if there is a regular time you can practise and, if possible, stick to it.

Getting into a routine will help the body to feel comfortable in its environment and will enable you to concentrate faster and more acutely.

  • Try not to practise on an empty stomach, but also not on a full one.  According to how you feel we recommend using the main principles of Ayurveda

According to Ayurvedic principles a person can either be TAMASIC (sluggish/slow), RAJASIC (hyperactive/fast) or SATTVIC (balanced) depending on their current state of mind.  If you are feeling unsettled you will most certainly be feeling either Tamasic or Rajasic and therefore should aim to bring yourself back into a Sattvic (balanced) state.

Decide how you are feeling at this present moment: TAMASIC or RAJASIC?

For people in TAMASIC (sluggish/slow) state I recommend:

Going for a brisk walk before practice, if possible.

Playing the piano at a moderate or fast tempo but not too slowly!

Eating a moderate amount of RAJASIC foods before practice to induce more energy into your system (chocolate, tea, coffee (but not too much of these, otherwise you may find yourself in a rajasic state) as well as fish, eggs, chilli peppers and strongly-flavored herbs and spices to help bring yourself into a state of balance. Do some physical exercise. Yoga is excellent as long as it is a vinyasa sequence (dynamic flowing yoga practice).  This encourages better blood circulation and warms up the muscles.

For people in a RAJASIC (hyperactive/nervous) state I would recommend:

Going for a slow walk or doing some simple slow stretches, mainly with forward bends (make sure that you do not have any back issues and know how to do stretches safely).

Playing everything on the piano slower then usual. Eat some TAMASIC food before the practice time to induce a calming effect on the body (i.e. meat, cooked vegetables, mushrooms, dried, tinned and frozen fruit).

Practising slow, deep breathing as it has an excellent calming effect on the body. (The yogic breath technique of Ujjayi is particularly good if you are familiar with it – otherwise I would recommend initial guidance from a qualified yoga teacher).

Trying to meditate and rest more between short practice sessions.

  • Make sure that you feel comfortable in your environment

In the morning have plenty of fresh air in the room (no dust, as not only is it bad for your health, but it is terrible for the energy of the place).  In the evening make sure that the room is warm and well lit, but that the lights are not too bright, as this can make you feel tired.

  • Do some physical exercises before your piano practice

Doing some physical work can do wonders for your body and mind. Either walking, running, yoga, pilates or swimming: anything that keeps your body alive, well toned and oxygenated. 10–15 minutes of exercise before your piano practice can dramatically improve your playing and your ability to concentrate!

  • Have some fluids by your side

Preferably have some water (ideally at room temperature, unless you feel hot) or some tea (herbal would be the best, but if you are feeling tired sometimes black tea or coffee can help – make sure that these do not make you too over-active).

  • Use aromatherapy as this can do wonders from your practice

Before embarking on the use of aromatherapy, I strongly suggest that you do some homework, find out what oils and smells you like and how they make you feel. The oils could either be applied to your skin as a cream or used as a room spray or in oil burners. You really need to know what products you are using and which method is the most effective for you, as it can create a very strong effect and this can really elevate your mood, improve your concentration or simply make you feel happier!

I use room sprays the most, and these days create my own fragrances by mixing various oils.  It is so simple: fill a glass bottle with water and add various oils that you like; they usually change with seasons, the time of day and my mood, hence I have many different bottles. Use a diffuser to spray these out.  My favorite morning mix at the moment is a combination of cypress, lemon grass, peppermint and lime.

Below are a few examples of how different oils can help you, but really you need to check out yourself what works for you.  There are endless possibilities for creating various smells.

    • Bergamot helps to fight anxiety, confusion, depression, relieve headaches, and reduce irritability and stress.
    • Pepper is great for fighting apathy, relieving colds, cramps, flu, muscle ache, shock, creating calm and boosting energy.
    • Ylang-ylang helps to fight depression, stress, improve sleep and enhance mood.
    • Rose helps with anxiety, depression and fear, creating nurturing and positive feelings.
    • Clary Sage helps to fight hyperactivity, improve sleep, avoid panic attacks, and induce peace of mind.

Try to pay attention to these few ideas and see how they can improve your practice!

Having said all this, it is important to have a clear goal (know what you would like to achieve from each practice session) and maintain a planned practice process. Try to be undisturbed during your sessions.  And always approach your practice thinking constructively: don’t see problems, only solutions!

Here is a little video about our Piano-Yoga® Retreat in Cyprus, which we have created as the ultimate holistic approach to piano learning.  It includes piano masterclasses and seminars, yoga exercises, food tasting, wonderful sightseeing excursions and communication with inspiring, like-minded people!

Enjoy!

Namaste (‘I bow to you.’ Sanscrit)

GéNIA

Comment » | GéNIA's Articles, Piano-Yoga®, Practical Advice

How to Get the Most out of Your Piano Practice

August 4th, 2011 — 11:08am

On our forthcoming Cyprus retreat we are going to cover many areas relating to the piano and piano practice, but if you cannot join us there, here is a little bit of something that may help you to improve your personal practice time.

Many pianists practise as much as they can, but often complain that they are not good enough or they just can’t get it right. Also, the majority of us simply do not have enough time to practise, full stop. Therefore we might think ‘if we have only 10-15 minutes a day, what’s the point?; It is not enough time to improve, so why bother?’ And this repeats day after day, with continuously growing frustration that we are not good enough and never have the time to practise, therefore we will never improve… Hence millions of frustrating pianists waking up every morning all over the world.

Here are several simple ideas that I hope will help you to deal with this issue, if you need to:

1. Accept that you do not have enough time to practise.

2. Commit to the belief that you want to improve, that deep down in your heart you know that you want to be better and that you are committed to it.

3. Change the quality of your practice time. Even if you have 10 minutes a day, you can learn a lot if you change your attitude and state of mind:

a) Ban all your negative thoughts from your head during the time of your practice.

b) Centre yourself before practice: ideally do some yoga, but if there is no time or you are not a yoga practitioner:

i) Drink a glass of water (room temperature, unless you’re feeling particularly hot!)

ii) Do the tree pose if you can for 1 minute on each side. If not, sit down with your back straight, close your eyes and start breathing deeply from your diaphragm. Try to breathe slowly and avoid breathing from the top part of your chest.

iii) Either meditate if you can, or try to imagine that your spine is like a stem growing from the earth up to the sky, and focus on it, whilst trying to lengthen it. Make sure that the crown of your head is directed towards the sky. Sit like this for 3 minutes. If time permits, 10 minutes would be even better. If you need to, support your back with a cushion.

iv) Once this is done, go to your piano. Plan in advance the time that you are going to spend on it and stick to it. Make sure that your phone is switched off, the room is warm and there is a plenty of soft light, so you don’t have to strain your eyes.

Now this is your practice time. If you get yourself in this state every time before you start your practice, after 10 days you will be able already to notice how the quality of your practice time has improved.

GéNIA reading score

And here is something else worth keeping in mind: for those times when you want to practice but don’t have access to a piano you still can do some great practice drawing on the ideas above and sitting with the music in front of you, doing the practice in your head rather then at the instrument. This is much harder, but is incredibly effective.

It is also important to know exactly what you are working on during each practice session, but this is a slightly different topic for a future blog…

If these topics are something that you simply must learn more about, you are welcome to join us on our Cyprus retreat on 19-25 September to get the full insight into our philosophy. Visit www.piano-yoga.com/retreats/cyprus-retreat.php for more information, call into our monthly Skype clinic or you can even book a Skype Piano-Yoga® session!

Enjoy your practice,

GéNIA

Comment » | GéNIA, GéNIA's Articles, Piano-Yoga®, Practical Advice

7 Basic Steps to Perfect Your Sight-reading

July 7th, 2011 — 2:32pm

So many of us feel inadequate when it comes to sight-reading. Just the mention of it can make you start to feel uneasy!

So here are 5 simple steps to help you to perfect your sight-reading. (Bear in mind that these are not a substitute for regular practice, though!)

1. Identify the key of the piece (check the key signature and the last note in the bass).

2. Identify the time signature

3. Check the range of notes in each hand (the highest and the lowest) and find them on the piano.

4. Check the ‘musical words’ (i.e. something your eye can recognize as a word without spelling out each note, like repeated notes or scale passages).

5. Hum the tune to get a feel for the rhythm and pace (like a human heartbeat).

6. Do a quick check on accidentals, tied notes, dotted rhythms, articulation (legato/staccato) and basic dynamics (forte, piano, crescendo, diminunendo, subito).

7. AND OFF YOU GO! SMILE AND DO NOT STOP, NO MATTER WHAT! JUST KEEP GOING, while maintaining the most important thing: the pulse of the music!*

*If you transpose the tune to another key you will still be able to recognize it, but if you change the pulse of the piece, you may not recognize the tune!

Comment » | GéNIA, GéNIA's Articles, Piano-Yoga®, Practical Advice

Can classical music be ‘hip’?

June 1st, 2011 — 10:03am

Last night I went to Lang Lang’s concert at the Royal Festival Hall, where the audience were clapping between the concerto movements as they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to! The people sitting next to me were eating chips with 3 different types of dips whilst listening to Chopin’s Piano Concert No. 2 and the members of the orchestra actually danced during the performance, in which manner they left the stage, followed by a massive roar of applause and standing ovations… There were no signs of death; only celebration! People were there because they loved the music, and Lang Lang…

Yet there is a popular belief in modern society that classical music is dying out. There is talk of empty concert halls, and the idea that the classical music community is losing touch with reality, partly because of the common interpretation of classical music as elitist – chosen by, and only appropriate for, the ‘prepared ear’…

OK. But if we look to literature, do we say that Tolstoi or Balzac or Jerom K Jerom are no good any more because they are old fashioned? Surely even though you don’t read them on a daily basis, you can still appreciate the quality of their mastery. So where does this attitude to classical music come from?

Perhaps it would be good to reflect on why music was invented in the first place. Why do so many love music, and have it as a part of their lives? Because it allows us to dream, to release emotions, to change our mood, to go deeper into our own state and to get to know ourselves better…

Many argue about whether classical music is purely old-fashioned, or whether it can still relate to modern society. In recent years there have been many attempts to make it more sexy and less stuffy, which younger generations of performers donning jeans and leather jackets on stage, and even tales of classical pianists following in the popular music tradition of attending ‘rehab’.

My theory is very simple. First of all, lets go back to why music is so important – why it is a part of many people’s lives and is played in so many households on a daily basis. Often, people don’t sit around and listen to it; music is sometimes played while they are doing other things like cleaning, exercising, having friends for dinner. This music is not analysed; it is simply there to elevate or complement the mood… It works on, and affects, emotions. People can relate to it, to its sounds and moods; it makes them feel better.

One of the reasons classical music is not so popular these days (and the main one in my opinion) is not so much because of the complexity of some of the compositions, but because of the ‘perfection’ in the style of the performance these days. If you listen to the old recordings from the first half of the 20th century by Cherkassky, Horowitz, Cortot, Moriz Rosenthal, Eugend’Albert, were they perfect? Of course not! Were they always rational in their interpretations? No. Were they predictable? Usually not. And that is what made them so interesting. Sometimes Chopin didn’t sound like Chopin, but who cared?; it stirred emotions, stimulated interest and curiosity. Today only the top artists attract this kind of attention, and although some of them appear to attain perfection – which is admirable and really appreciated by musicians – their playing often leaves amateur listeners cold. When it comes to lesser-known pianists, very often their interpretations are similar, where the aim to become note-perfect makes their music more refined, but at the same time more predictable.

Why has this happened? Most likely because of the demands of the record industry, where it has become possible to make any performance note–perfect. Anything less has now ceased to be acceptable. In fact, it has developed into a ‘perfection’ competition, where the purest sound is not contaminated by any external noise (which is considered to be a disaster!). But in real lif, performance is not quite like that. When Horowitz released a recording of one of his concerts, which started with a few wrong notes, the producers asked for his permission to amend it – but he refused! In this day and age this would be unacceptable. This is why in international piano competitions the winners are often very virtuosic pianists, admired for their stamina and inner strength. Those who are weaker, less traditional and not so note-pristine don’t usually win; but often those pianists who connect more with the audience do stir up endless debates…

I remember being at one of the late Pogorelich’s concerts where he played Chopin’s Preludes. He changed everything, his interpretation was totally unexpected and he kept me sitting on the edge of my chair. It felt like Dostoevsky on the keys. I have never heard Chopin played like that – it was an unforgettable experience. A few days later I was reading a review of this concert and poor Pogorelich got completely slated. ‘How could Chopin be played like this?!’ But for me that was one of the most amazing concert experiences of my life. While listening to his playing my emotions and the whole world were turned upside-down.

So why not go back to basics, to the raw art of piano playing that allows for the unpredictability of interpretations, emphasising the full spectrum of piano sounds, and accepting that it is OK to come up with a completely different interpretation as long as this can be delivered on a professional level? To show you what I mean, here is an example of something that really moves me: Stanislav Neuhaus playing Scriabin’s Etude Op.8, No. 12. It is not note-perfect, but it has that fire and originality that makes it unforgettable experience:

So to finish off, whilst some argue whether classical music should be put to rest, it is very much alive and kicking, like life with all its ups and downs. I can admit that some classical music traditions (like the total silence of the concert pianist during performance, or not allowing the audience to clap between movements), can be quite restricting, but if we can get past them, it would allow us to see the real music and its never-ending beauty. Lets embrace it rather than push it away and enjoy the discovery of how much more happiness and pleasure we can have in our life when classical music is a part of it.

If you have any thoughts on this issue, let me know at info@piano-yoga.com.

With love,

GéNA

Comment » | GéNIA, GéNIA's Articles, Piano-Yoga®

Are Russian piano teachers really that scary?

May 6th, 2011 — 1:46pm

Recently, I had a number of friends reporting that when they mentioned me to their friends 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 had 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.

I believe the word ‘Russian’ also still makes some people think about Soviet times, when Russian people appeared on TV or in public with stony faces, devoid of any sign of a smile… These popular beliefs combined have conspired to create the scary ‘dragon’ image of a Russian piano teacher.

It’s true: being Soviet during the Soviet Era meant distrusting your colleagues in fear that you may be reported; there was no suggestion of original ideas unless they were in line with Communist Party ideology (which was extended to science and art as well as economics and politics); and if you didn’t want to support the Communist Party openly (I personally never went on a single demonstration, even when it was compulsory), at the very least you had to keep quiet.

But times have since moved on….  Now there is a new generation of Russians who were allowed to leave when the iron curtain came down, brought up in the times of Perestroika and Glasnost. I remember preparing my school history homework only to discover that everything had changed since the previous night and what we had learned was no longer applicable…  The history teacher didn’t know what to teach us as the Soviet Union and its neighboring countries were dramatically changing.

Having said that, there were good things: you were expected to be good at everything you did (Dance, Music, Maths, etc.) and the standards were extremely high.  Just to give you an idea: some of the Maths syllabus from year 10 at my school covered the same topics that were on the first-year Maths programme at University!  So, when our generation suddenly gained the opportunity to leave our homeland, whilst many of us sincerely wanted to leave behind all the bad things of Soviet Russia, we continued to cherish and bring forward many of the old traditions, including the quality and integrity of our work.

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 been 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 wouldn’t 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:

Better still, come and meet me in person on the 15th May at Kings Place in London at the next Piano-Yoga® retreat:

It’s now time for my piano practice…

Namaste,

GéNIA

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With the upcoming launch of the first-ever Piano-Yoga® retreat in London, GéNIA reflects on her own personal retreats into the world of classical cruise-lining

March 31st, 2011 — 8:41pm

I love going on retreats – there is something very decadent about them.  You forget about all the harsh realities and problems of life and concentrate purely on the subject that you love.  24/7.  On top of that, you also work on your well-being and everything is taken care of for you.  For a short period you get to feel like you don’t have a care in the world…

In the piano community it is more common to go on summer schools and masterclasses, where all the attention is focused on learning and meeting like-minded people, encouraging healthy competition and hours of practice…  And yet, I have found that in order to learn more, it is far better to create a holistic environment where you feel relaxed, safe and nurtured. You can be as competitive as you like, but it is not encouraged in this context.  Your ability to learn is therefore heightened and your creativity strives forward.

In my own case, I have found that appearing as a concert pianist on a cruise liner makes for the most wonderful sort of personal retreat.  While I’m there it gives me the chance to travel the world (which I love), eat healthily, go to the gym and spa as many times as I want, as well as keep up with my yoga and piano practice.  The only thing I need to deliver is up to 12 concerts with 6 different programmes, usually within the period of 14 days.  I don’t need to think about any practical issues, like grocery shopping or public transport, and with limited access to the internet my contact with the outside world is very much diminished.  I can choose how much I want to socialise, but with the status of the concert pianist on-board, no-one really expects to rely on your time.  This is my little heaven.   I usually do it 4 times a year – mainly in winter to escape the cold London climate (!)  – and I always travel to hot countries, as I like it hot!  Going on stage 12 times keeps me very grounded and prevents me from becoming too engrossed in what has to be one of the most hedonistic experiences in the world.

Photograph from my last cruise around the Caribbean

This is really where the inspiration for creating Piano-Yoga® retreats came from, with the hope of giving other like-minded pianists the possibility of experiencing the same blissful mix of creativity, nurturing and learning, all in one place.  The retreats have been a long time in the making, so we are now very excited that in 2011 they will finally become a reality, with two one-day retreats in London at Kings Place and Steinway Hall and one retreat in Cyprus at the Arte Academy (one-week retreat). The retreats will cover many areas related to piano playing through lectures and masterclasses, whilst working with the participants on their mind and body through yoga sessions specially designed for pianists. During the one-week retreat in Cyprus participants will be also be able to visit beautiful parts of Cyprus (excursions included) and stay in a beautiful hotel, with all meals provided.  The two one-day Piano-Yoga® retreats in London will give participants a chance to get a taster of the bigger retreat, while unwinding, relaxing and learning more about piano technique.

And after all, retreats are really what Piano-Yoga® is all about!  Because apart from the obvious benefits to your piano technique, what retreats offer is a slice of the whole lifestyle and philosophy for those who love playing the piano in a holistic way.

We are currently talking to a number of other venues in Europe and the USA about hosting Piano-Yoga® retreats for 2012 and beyond, so if you would like to have one in your area, please drop us a line.

Time for my yoga practice..!

Namaste,

GéNIA

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Piano-Yoga® Launches New Assessment Lessons

February 17th, 2011 — 4:17pm

 

New year – New start with Piano-Yoga®: Assessment Lessons launched!

So often when I meet pianists for the first time they tell me: “I love playing piano, never any good at it as a child though. I hated practising and ive only just started to pick up the instrument again, but I wish I was more disciplined” or, “When is a good time for my daughter to start learning the piano?  She loves clapping and dancing to music, but is this a good enough basis to start having lessons?”  Quite often professionals complain: “Recently I started having terrible back pain – after a day at the piano, I feel completely exhausted.”  These are all very common and valid concerns, but the good news is that Piano-Yoga® can help.  With these questions in mind, and as it is still beginning of the year, as of February 2011 I am now offering all-new Assessment Lessons.  So, there is no need to book regular sessions or have continuous dependence on your teacher (although these things can be extremely beneficial), or endure a regular trek across the city trying to get to your lesson on time whilst beating the traffic and the rush hour…

During a Piano-Yoga® session your current level of playing will be assessed, highlighting all your strengths and weaknesses; we will discuss what you would like to achieve musically, look into your current time availability for practising and your ability to manage your schedule, and we will finalise the time scale for achieving your goals (you may even feel you need help in establishing what your goals should be!).  You will leave the lesson with a bespoke, personalised practice plan designed especially for you.

For parents, I will be able to suggest whether it is a good time for your child to start the piano, what type of lessons and books are beneficial at this stage, what you as a parent can do to help your child to learn faster, recommend a good local piano teacher, and provide advice on choosing an appropriate piano.

For professionals, I will focus on your ‘problem’ areas of technique and help you come up with a structured plan to find the best solution for you.  This may include some pure yoga postures as well as piano exercises.  For pianists suffering from post-injury syndrome, Piano-Yoga® can guide you gently back into practising and playing.  (In fact, in 2008 Piano-Yoga® helped me to get back into playing and onto the podium within 10 weeks after breaking my right wrist!)

For piano teachers, Assessment Lessons can provide the opportunity to ask any questions face-to-face that you have about the Piano-Yoga® method, so you can feel more confident when using it with your own students.  Likewise, anyone using the book can use an Assessment Lesson to get practical advice first-hand about how to execute the technical exercises.

And finally…if you are skeptical about the Piano-Yoga® method, an Assessment Lesson provides the perfect opportunity to test the water for yourself and ask as many questions as you like on a one-to-one basis.

And just to give you a little more of an insight, here’s a clip from one of my latest interviews.

For details of the venue and how to book, please see our website!

Looking forward to meeting you!

Namaste,

GéNIA

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