Category: Music


10 Piano pieces that you can pull out of your sleeve in no time!

May 11th, 2017 — 9:18am
GéNIA - Pianist, composer and founder of Piano-Yoga®

GéNIA – Pianist, composer and founder of Piano-Yoga®

Many amateur pianists often find themselves in the situation where they need to play something in front of an audience, but there is nothing ready and then they end up feeling disappointed: with all this practice, how come that whenever they need to perform, they have nothing to show?

First of all, don’t be so harsh on yourself! If you do take your practice seriously, then you must be in the right state of mind, with warmed up hands and your chosen piece in a reasonably good preparation state, ideally glued into your memory. These things do not happen easily. It is understandable that you may feel less than enthusiastic about performing in front of people, if these conditions are not met.

However, there are some pieces which I call ‘Crowd Pleasers’. Once you learn them, they stay in your memory and hands easily and can be picked up at any moment.

Here is a list of pieces that you can pull out of your sleeve in no time:

1. Philip Glass  ’Metamorhopsis  No 1′ (This is a great piece for testing your memory)

 

2. Frederic Chopin Prelude in E minor Op. 28 No 4

 

3. Eric Satie Gnossienne No 1

 

4. JS Bach Little Prelude in C minor BWV 999

 

5 Robert Schumann’. Kind im Einschlummern’ (Child Falling Asleep) from Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15 (1838)

 

6. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Movement no 2 from Somata in C major K 545

 

7. Yann Tiersen Soundtrack from the film ‘Amelie’

 

8. JS Bach Prelude from Prelude and Fugue in C major Book 1

 

9. Ludovico Einaudi  ‘Nuvole Bianche’

 

10 GéNIA ‘Mon Amour’

Hope you find this selection helpful!

Remember that piano is there to be enjoyed by you and the people around you.

With love,

GéNIA

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Sight-reading: Eight Tips – a guest blog by Melanie Spanswick

April 27th, 2017 — 10:39am
Melanie Spanswick, pianist, composer, educator and blogger

Melanie Spanswick, pianist, composer, educator and blogger

‘It gives me a great pleasure to introduce a wonderful educator, pianist, pedagogue, blogger, author and international judicator, Melanie Spanswick.  

Melanie kindly offered to write a blog especially for Piano-Yoga readers, covering one of her ‘specialities’: the subject of sight reading.

 Melanie has also just published the first series of her new book ‘Play it again: PIANO’ with Schott Music. Here, she offers some useful tips for pianists who would like to improve their sight-reading.’ GéNIA

Sight-reading is a subject feared by many a pianist. Reading at speed is a real skill, and one to be prized; if you can read quickly, learning repertoire will be a much swifter and more pleasurable experience. Contrary to the often misguided belief that it’s a skill you ‘either can or can’t do’, I’ve found if students are taught and guided carefully in this respect, they can and do make substantial progress. The key is a slow approach with plenty of practice material, and time to devote to this cause.

I hope the following tips will prove interesting and useful for those who feel they need a practice method to which they can apply to every session.

  1. Sight-reading is all about the preparation. Begin by allowing at least two to three minutes of preparation time, looking at the score, and then separating the various tasks (as described below).
  2. On first glance, check the score for the key signature, noting the major and relative minor of that written; get into the habit of ‘spotting the key’ of every piece you read. Note the time signature (particularly if it changes during the piece), obvious note patterns such as scales, arpeggios, chords, octaves and the like (also aim to decipher fingerings for such figurations before you play).
  3. Separate the rhythm from the notes (this is very important). Focus on the general pulse; always start with very slow speeds when learning to read (perhaps a third or even a quarter of the intended tempo). Then tap the rhythm of the treble clef in the right hand, and the rhythm of the bass clef, with the left hand (at the same time), keeping in mind the slow pulse you have already set.
  4. Now play through the left hand alone (without adhering to any pulse), locating note patterns, hand positions changes and fingering (and remembering the key!). Then repeat this with the right hand. If you’re preparing for an exam, you will probably have just enough time to run through each hand separately in the 20 or 30 seconds allocated inspection time beforehand. However, irrespective of exam sight-reading tests, allow plenty of time for this vital part of the preparation process.
  5. Decide how you will keep time during the exercise. A metronome may be helpful (for ‘sitting’ on the pulse), but counting out loud along to your playing is also a reliable method (providing your count is rhythmical!). Try to sub-divide the beat (i.e. if crotchets are the main beat, count in quavers, but if quavers are the main beat, then count in semiquavers etc.). Counting a bar’s rest at the beginning can be useful too (for setting a firm tempo).
  6. Once you have spent time on the preparation stage, and are quite sure of the notes, rhythm, fingering and hand position changes, play your chosen exercise hands together, very slowly, reading ahead all the time, whilst aiming to play through your mistakes. It’s tempting to stop and correct errors, but by playing slowly, you will eventually be able to resist this urge.
  7. When reading, keep in mind the overall rhythmic structure and play the notes to the pulse as opposed to the other way around. This way, you can always keep going, missing out notes or chords if you can’t find them in the time (if this happens frequently, probably a slower tempo is required).
  8. Eventually, when you are comfortable playing sight-reading exercises slowly, gradually add speed.

This preparation will become quicker over time, as will your reading. Ensure you have a large collection of sight-reading books and materials; one or two books won’t be sufficient, as with regular practice, you’ll move through many practice examples as well as easier piano repertoire. Try to start with very simple exercises, moving to more challenging examples as and when you’re ready. If you can spend 10 – 15 minutes sight-reading at every practice session, you’ll be amazed at what can be achieved. Good luck!

Melanie Spanswick

www.melaniespanswick.com

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Piano-Yoga® founder GéNIA’s Show at St James Theatre London Just Announced

February 17th, 2016 — 2:27pm

GéNIA’s latest project, the single released especially for Valentine’s Day, features a classical piano arrangement of  ‘Someone Like You’ by Adele and takes it to a global classical audience.

GéNIA will hosting a show at St James Theatre London premiering ‘Someone Like You’ and play many of her own works intertwined with well-known classics.

Tickets available shortly

“…one to watch…”

The Observer, UK

 

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Pianist Magazine Writes Article about Piano-Yoga®!

August 5th, 2015 — 3:56pm

p68_pianist85-for-webPianist Magazine recently spoke to Piano-Yoga® founder GéNIA about the creation of the method and the new Piano-Yoga® Club launching in September!

To read the first page of the article HERE.

To read the second page of the article HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

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Piano-Yoga® Founder GéNIA releases video of ‘Paganini Jazz’ performance

May 13th, 2015 — 3:05pm

This video, recorded in September 2014 in Nice, France, is a great opportunity to see and hear GéNIA at her most virtuosic. Paganini Jazz is a demanding piece, and with a very clear view of the piano keyboard, the video offers a window into how GéNIA approaches this challenge. For those who want some insight into her technique, this is footage that can be carefully studied.

Paganini Jazz StillIt is also a chance to hear how GéNIA handles Jazz; something of a departure from both her classical repertoire and her songwriting. That the answer is ‘very well’ is evident from the way she navigates the contrasting moods of the piece, and manages to maintain such a smooth playing style even in the most up-tempo and dramatic of moments. It is also evident from the standing ovation she receives at the end of the song! A dynamic performance full of variety, it is certainly worth a few minutes of your time to investigate.

As well as being an outstanding rendition, GéNIA’s performance was on this occasion in support of UNICEF, and the funds raised from the concert meant that 560 girls throughout Guinéa, Mozambique, Togo, Malaisie and Madagascar received an education for a year. Good music for a good cause!

Alex Chalk

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Piano-Yoga® GéNIA Releases New EP ‘Dreams of Today, Thoughts of Tomorrow Vol.2′

December 9th, 2014 — 2:49pm

Russian virtuoso pianist and composer GéNIA is pleased to announce the release of her new EP, “Dreams of Today, Thoughts of Tomorrow Vol.2” on 14 December 2014. The EP contains 6 solo piano compositions, and is GéNIA’s sophomore EP continuing on from “Dreams of Today, Thoughts of Tomorrow Vol.1” released in March 2014.

Composed mainly in London, GéNIA’s sophomore EP contains 6 pieces inspired by coffee culture. These compositions have been performed at various concert halls in London and other European cultural hotspots. “I wanted to convey a feeling through my music, one that people experience while having a simple cup of coffee. For some a cup of coffee becomes fundamental and the most important first drink of the day. We often think about our past, present or build plans and hopes for the future, whilst having this cup. For a modern person it becomes a modern day meditation,” says GéNIA.

The EP was recorded at Master Chord Studio in London with engineer Raoul Terzi, on a beautiful Steinway & Sons Concert Grand Piano and produced by Hayden Parsey before being mastered at Metropolis Studios by Grammy award winning engineer Tim Young (The Beatles, Michael Nyman, Massive Attack).

GèNIA will be performing a series of concerts at Caffè Nero Heathrow Terminal 2, one of the largest coffee houses in the world, to launch the EP on 14th and 28th December. GéNIA has also been nominated as Caffè Nero’s classical artist of the month.

 

Tracklist

1. Autumn Blues

2. Happy Planet

3. Departure

4. Mon Amour

5. Storm

6. Russian Song

 

Label: GéNIA MUSIC

Cat No: GENMUS002

Release Date: 14 December 2014

Country: UK

To pre-order your copy from iTunes UK click HERE

To pre-order your copy from iTunes France click HERE

To pre-order your copy from iTunes Russia click HERE

Available from all major digital retailers and streaming services worldwide from 14th December or shortly after.

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Piano-Yoga® Founder GéNIA to Perform at the First Classical Concerts at Heathrow

December 8th, 2014 — 2:14pm
Caffè Nero’s Classical Artist of the month Russian virtuoso pianist and composer GéNIA will play two concerts to celebrate the release of GéNIA’s EP ‘Dreams of Today, Thoughts of Tomorrow’, alongside performances of famous classical piano works.
Receive a free coffee from Caffè Nero Heathrow Terminal 2 on the concert days by quoting “I love GéNIA’s music!”
There will be an opportunity to chat to GéNIA and obtain a limited edition signed copy of her EP (also available on iTunes, Amazon & digital retailers)

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Catherine Lieben, student of GéNIA wins 1st Prize in Open Adult Recital at the Windsor Festival.

July 15th, 2014 — 5:24pm

GéNIA student Catherine Lieben won the 1st prize in the Open Adult Recital at the Windsor Festival. Congratulations Catherine! To find out more about the festival follow the link HERE.

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GéNIA releases video for Debussy’s ‘Clair De Lune’

July 1st, 2014 — 2:44pm

Piano-Yoga founder GéNIA has just released a small snippet from one her recent concert performing Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’

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GéNIA Student Philip Balkan Wins Another CUP at Dulwich Piano Festivial

June 23rd, 2014 — 1:17pm
Philip With His Trophy

Philip With His Trophy

Following on from his win last month at the London Festival of Music, Drama & Dance, Philip Balkan has won first prize at this years Dulwich Piano Festival and was awarded the Raymond Banning Trophy. Congratulations Philip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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