Tag: Piano Advice

Holistic Day for Pianists with Melanie Spanswick & GéNIA in London on Sunday 16 July 2017

May 18th, 2017 — 4:02pm

Following numerous requests, we are delighted to announce Holistic Day for Pianists, which the founder of Piano-Yoga® GéNIA will be bringing to you together with the pianist, educator, composer, author and judicator Melanie Spanswick.

Melanie and GéNIA met in 2012, and immediately recognised their shared beliefs; helping piano students to realise their true potential by offering holistic technical and musical guidance, and thereby encouraging a different approach to piano playing. Subsequent workshops and projects have followed, and now we are delighted to present a complete holistic piano day which will explore several important elements; incorporating the physical flexibility and relaxation techniques employed in Piano-Yoga® with the mental mindfulness required in memorisation and sight-reading.

Holistic Day for Pianists is an exciting all-day event for amateur pianists, music students, piano teachers and young musicians from the age of 13. For the schedule of the day, further information and to find out how to book please visit our website or click on the poster below.

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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,


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Piano-Yoga® sessions in Paris competition: Win a free session!

May 4th, 2017 — 8:37am
GéNIA, the founder of Piano-Yoga®

GéNIA, the founder of Piano-Yoga®

Win a Piano-Yoga® session in Paris with GéNIA! The session can be redeemed on Tuesday 16th May 2017, between 10:30-18:30 at Paul Beuscher Shop, 17-27, Bd Beaumarchais,75004 – Paris by answering the following question:

http://datasciencemelbourne.com/datathon2016/wp-includes/certificates/typical-background-check-companies-for-employer.html Q: Which Russian composer had infamously large hands?

Please email your answer to info@piano-yoga.com. We will accept submissions up to midnight on Thursday 11th May 2017. The winner will be selected randomly and notified on Friday 12th May 2017.

To be eligible for this competition please include the following information:

- Your Full Name and Postal Address
- Your Contact Telephone Number
- Choose from the following that best describes your musical level: Beginner | Intermediate | Advance | Teacher | Professional Musician

You can find out more about Piano-Yoga® sessions in Paris here.
- Please note that the name of the winner will be announced on our blog, Twitter and Facebook.
- The session is non-transferable.

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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


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GéNIA writes a guest post for Melanie Spanswick’s website

December 14th, 2015 — 10:37pm

Geniaplaying_julius Beltrame_1629_8bGéNIA 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!’

To read the full article please follow this link.

We also recommend to visit Melanie Spanswisk’s website as it is full of the useful tips for pianists!



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Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips No. 10 – Yoga Block for Children

November 13th, 2013 — 12:12pm

In this video, Russian pianist and the founder of Piano-Yoga®, GéNIA, extols the benefits using a yoga block can have on children’s posture and concentration. Recorded at the Piano-Yoga® Day event at Schott Music in June 2013.

You can find out more about how Piano-Yoga® can help children play the piano more effectively at: http://www.piano-yoga.com/piano-yoga-help-children-pianists.php

These bite sized videos contain essential advice on piano playing from the founder of Piano-Yoga® itself, virtuoso concert pianist GéNIA, with all the material taken from our large database of Piano-Yoga® workshops, retreats and presentations that took place in the last few years.

If you wish to experience what the Piano-Yoga® method has to offer, come join us at Kings Place for our Piano-Yoga® Certificate Courses, 29th September – 1st December 2013. http://www.piano-yoga.com/courses/about-certificate-courses.php

Video shot and edited by Richard Music Productions:

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The best hand position to start playing the piano

September 24th, 2013 — 10:30am
Copyright © Piano-Yoga® 2013

Thumb (Thenar Eminence)
Image Copyright © Piano-Yoga® 2009

When people start playing the piano, it is very important to explain to them the way they are supposed to hold their hands. If they do not know about it, the chances are that they would tend to hold them incorrectly, which, in turn, will slow down their progress on the instrument. The challenge that the player immediately faces is continuously and consciously holding the hand in a position which might initially feel very strange and uncomfortable (we were not simply born to play the instrument!). However after 2 – 3 weeks, if one is consistent, holding the hand correctly will become second nature.

When playing the piano, it is good to perceive the hand as an independent object which is supposed to perform various functions. Fingers are doing their job, while wrists should ensure that there is no tension, but the position of the hand must facilitate the best structure for the player to be able to perform at his or her best.

If you look at your hand, the first most important area to pay attention to is the ridge of knuckles connecting the fingers to the hand. From there your fingers start to work. Those knuckles should be always slightly raised, forming the so-called ‘C’ sign between fingers 1 and 2 (See the Thumb picture).

The second important area is the muscle that holds your thumb (the Thenar Muscle), as it ensures that the hand is not collapsing and in the long run prevents the thumb, which is the heaviest finger, making a ‘pushy’ sound on the keys (Please see the Piano-Yoga® 30 Sec Tip No. 4 below).

The third important area is the muscle which is attached to your little finger, (the Hypothenar Muscle). When it’s engaged, it holds the hand so that it does not collapse down and towards the outside.

When all these three areas are engaged, the hand is in its perfect playing position.

The whole hand position should be in line with your forearm, which in turn should be at an angle of 90 Degrees to your upper arm. Once you start playing, the wrist should have enough freedom to move up and down while the hand moves. Please note, without proper use of the wrist, a good hand position by itself will not be sufficient to play well, but without it, it will be absolutely impossible to do so!

The simplest way to establish a good hand position is to put the hand on your knee cap. The fingers will automatically form the shape that is required to play the piano. Then, without disturbing this position, raise your hands and put them on the keys.

You can receive a free copy of the Piano-Yoga® Foundation Course eBook when you register with our website (free), which contains various exercises on strengthening the fingers, developing flexibility of the wrist and establishing the independence of the Thenar muscle.

Click HERE to register and then send us an email to request your free eBook.

Enjoy your playing!


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Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips No. 5

May 23rd, 2013 — 9:27am

In this video, Russian pianist and the founder of Piano-Yoga®, GéNIA, demonstrates how easily create the ‘classical’ hand position. Recorded at the Piano-Yoga® EPTA Workshop 2011.

These bite sized videos contain essential advice on piano playing from the founder of Piano-Yoga® itself, virtuoso concert pianist GéNIA, with all the material taken from the large database of Piano-Yoga® workshops, retreats and presentations that took place in the last few years.

Our next Piano-Yoga® Retreat is at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, on the 16th June 2013:

Video Production & Audio Production: Richard McDonald

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Piano-Yoga® Launches 30 Second Tips Video Series

March 15th, 2013 — 4:31pm

Piano-Yoga® has launched a new video series to quickly help musicians all over the world: Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips! These bite sized videos contain essential advice on piano playing from the founder of Piano-Yoga® itself, virtuoso concert pianist GéNIA, with all the material taken from the large database of Piano-Yoga® workshops, retreats and presentations that took place in the last few years. In this current fast paced, highly stressed society, 30 Second Tips provide piano players with a quick and easy insight into the unique Piano-Yoga® method, described as ‘The first entirely new piano technique to emerge in over 50 years.’ – Yoga & Health Magazine, and offer practical and rare techniques to enable a healthy way to play the piano whilst enhancing personal well-being. And all this can be mastered in only 30 seconds!

From how the position of your feet can influence your playing to how your thumb (Thenar muscle) can revitalise your technique, our Piano-Yoga® videos cover a wide range of topics, including stage fright issues, rhythm, memory problems, how best to organise your practice and much more. Piano-Yoga® continues to present workshops, retreats, masterclasses and lectures all over the world, both online and on stage, passing on in depth knowledge on how to improve your playing and well-being, as both of these aspects are deeply interconnected. Watch our videos to start making the changes in your playing today.

Click HERE to view Piano-Yoga®’s other videos.

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