Tag: Piano Technique


Back Release Mini Series by GéNIA: 3 Minute Tension Release

May 13th, 2014 — 7:49am

After playing piano professionally for 30 years and teaching piano for the last 16, I have noticed that due to regular piano playing some people can experience similar physical and psychological problems. After observing students, colleagues and, of course, myself I have come to the conclusion that these problems can be alleviated if dealt with before they manifest.

There is a popular misconception that compared to the work of a dancer, a pianist’s work is mainly intellectually based. However pianists use the physical body as much as the mind – without both elements the expression of music would not be possible.

The most common physical problems for pianists are stiffness and pain in the shoulder girdle and lower back, stiffness and tension in the hips (mainly due to long hours of sitting), muscle fatigue in the hands, arms and right leg (due to pedaling), and a general feeling of blocked energy. As well as dealing with physical strain many pianists, especially those at a professional level, have to deal with the psychological stress of public performances.

Music students are expected and encouraged to practice a lot, some classical pianists practice up to eight hours a day. However, driven by the will to succeed they often ignore these issues continuing to practice and continuing to be deprived of the desired results because of the state of their physical and mental well-being.

After studying yoga for a number of years and then training to be a yoga teacher, I started implementing various yoga postures and exercises into the breaks between my piano playing sessions and found that the quality of my practice and my well-being improved tremendously.

The exercises outlined in Back Release Mini Series are designed to help pianists during and after their sessions by helping to rejuvenate and stretch the body, particularly working on the upper back. You can do each exercise individually between your piano practice sessions or do them together as a sequence.

Try to take notice and observe the way your body is feeling and choose the exercises that feel suitable for you. Also remember that all breathing during these exercises is done through your nose, with the mouth closed, unless you feel blocked and congested. In this blog I am introducing 3 Minute Tension Release:

 

3 Minute Tension Release

BENEFITS: Stretches the spine. Opens the hips. Warms up the upper body. Rejuvenates tired muscles. Restorative.

Props: Using a Grand Piano as a prop can be useful for stretching and releasing your back after a piano playing session. This exercise can also be done by placing your hands on a wall and then walking yourself backwards but is a little less effective. Recommended for adults only.

  • Place your feet parallel and hip width apart
  • Place your hands with your palms facing down on the lid of a grand piano (Do not do this with an upright as the height would not be appropriate).
  • Start slowly walking backwards while keeping your hands on the piano until you find yourself in an L-shaped position
  • Hold position for a few minutes and engage abdominal muscles by drawing them slightly inwards to support the back
  • To come out of the stretch, slowly start to walk towards the piano while keeping your palms pressed on the lid until you reach an upright position

 

Photographer: Pamela Troni
Model: Trudi Oliveiro
Photos: © Piano-Yoga Ltd

If you like to learn this exercise directly from GéNIA click HERE to book your place on the Piano-Yoga® retreat at King’s Place on 18th May in London.

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

Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips No. 9 – Belt

October 11th, 2013 — 10:57am

In this video, Russian pianist and the founder of Piano-Yoga®, GéNIA, describes how the use of a yoga belt can dramatically extend the amount of time you can comfortably play the piano. Recorded at the Piano-Yoga® EPTA Workshop 2010.

For detailed, step by step instructions on how to use the belt, please visit our website:
www.piano-yoga.com/free-resources/useful-props.php

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:
http://www.richard-music.co.uk/

Comment » | Practical Advice, Video

Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips No. 8 – Wrist Exercise

October 1st, 2013 — 10:54am

In this video, Russian pianist and the founder of Piano-Yoga®, GéNIA, demonstrates how to perform a yogic exercise that helps to release the tension in the wrists and make them more flexible for playing. This exercise can be performed away from the piano. Recorded at the Piano-Yoga® EPTA Workshop 2010.

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.

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:
http://www.richard-music.co.uk/

Comment » | GéNIA, Practical Advice, Video

Why Piano-Yoga® Certificate Courses?

September 20th, 2013 — 7:43pm

GéNIA by the Piano

In all my years as a teacher, I keep coming across many students, whether professional or amateur, who feel frustrated with their playing and think that they cannot do something due to lack of ability. Very often, after looking into their concerns, it turns out that the problems they are experiencing are due to either misinformation or simply lack of knowledge.

I came to the conclusion that having knowledge is as easy as not having it as, whether we want it or not, we still form an opinion about everything (very rare we think that we have no opinion whatsoever!). We look at the situation and form an opinion, sometimes through rationalising and sometimes through emotion or intuition. In the light of this, would not it be easier to spend a little more time and get proper information that would provide a foundation to solve the problems and challenges?

Very often when I speak with students they say ‘well, we are only beginners, maybe we do not need that in-depth knowledge and information about piano playing’. And this is when I think they are fundamentally wrong. If you are spending your time on something, it is up to you to decide how you utilise this time; to learn to your maximum capacity is crucial.

This is why I decided to introduce the Piano-Yoga® Certificate Courses. They start with the very simple basics: how to sit at the piano, how best to hold your hands, how to create the basic sound, how to perfect your rhythm, organise your practice, how to cope with pre-performance nerves, amongst other things. The main part of the course is dedicated to answering a lot of ‘Why’s?’ The course will suit anyone, whether 11 years old or 75, whether a professional or amateur. It gives the basics from the Piano-Yoga® prospective, from the point of view of working with the individual body, mind and energetic capacity. It will also show how, through piano playing, one can learn about one’s own personality and physique and then provide you with appropriate tools to start working on yourself in all those areas (your character, your energetic state, your mind).

It will also show how to improve the body’s capacity – whether to heighten the energy or calm yourself down.

Don’t forget: if you have any questions, you can always send us an email and the answers will be published in this blog.

Looking forward to seeing you at our courses!

GéNIA

Click HERE to find out more about the Piano-Yoga Certificate Courses at Kings Place.
Click HERE to book tickets.

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

Piano-Yoga® 30 Second Tips No. 7 – Neck Support

September 19th, 2013 — 9:59am

In this video, Russian pianist and the founder of Piano-Yoga®, GéNIA, demonstrates how a proper neck position can prevent problems with your back, shoulders and head. Recorded at the Piano-Yoga® EPTA Workshop 2010.

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.

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:
http://www.richard-music.co.uk/

Comment » | GéNIA, Practical Advice, Video

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:
http://www.piano-yoga.com/retreats/oxford-retreat-16-june-2013.php

Video Production & Audio Production: Richard McDonald

Comment » | GéNIA, Piano-Yoga®, Practical Advice, Video

GéNIA plays Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major

April 19th, 2013 — 11:48am

GéNIA and the Cyprus State Orchestra Plays the third movement, Allegro vivace assai, from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, K. 467.

The main theme from this movement is played in a ‘call and response’ style between the orchestra and piano, which culminates to an upward rush of scales and a triumphant end. Perfect to lift your spirits!

To  attend a masterclasses on piano technique, given by GéNIA, visit the Piano-Yoga® 1 Day Retreat with GéNIA at Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG, on Sunday, the 21st April 2013 at 10:30am-5:30 pm in London. View the webpage of the daily schedule here.

Photography by:

Karina Leonenko
Lyudmila Stepnova
Caroline Mardon
Julius Beltrame
Steph Horak
Geoff Tinniswood
GéNIA

Video Production: Richard McDonald

Comment » | GéNIA, Piano-Yoga®, Video

Piano-Yoga® Retreat Competition!

April 3rd, 2013 — 9:43am

Win a ticket to our forthcoming Piano-Yoga® Retreat on the 21st April, 10:30am at Kings Place, London by answering the following question:

Q: Which museum has a plaster cast of Chopin’s hand?

Please email your answer to info@piano-yoga.com. We will accept submissions up-to midnight on Friday 12th April 2013. The winner will be selected randomly and notified on Tuesday 16th April 2013. The ticket is non-transferable.

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

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

Answer YES or NO to the following questions:

  • Would you like to hear from Piano-Yoga® and Kings Place about future events via post?
  • Would you like to hear from Piano-Yoga® and Kings Place about future events via email?

To view the event please visit the Kings Place website HERE.

Comment » | Events, Piano-Yoga®

Piano Skype Lessons: Are they really a substitute for face-to-face tuition?

April 17th, 2012 — 10:28am
GéNIA

Skype Piano Lessons

I have been giving piano lessons for almost 20 years and when I first came across the idea of Skype Piano lessons, I admit, I was quite skeptical about it: doesn’t the student need to be in the same room with the teacher in order to really experience the full benefits of the tuition? Would not this be a bit artificial (particularly for us, the Piano-Yoga® Music School, since Piano-Yoga® promotes an holistic approach to piano playing) to rely so much on technology and the limitations of the computer screen?

However, due to my curiosity and inclination to explore new things, I decided to try this way of teaching by launching a Skype Piano-Yoga® Clinic. The result was better than I anticipated: people were ringing from all over the world, some asking about the piano repertoire that they needed to focus on, some on the details of the Piano-Yoga® method and some simply wanted specific technical help with their pieces. For example, with one student we spent quite a long time working on various trills and mordents, exploring the fingering that would work especially for her and at the end I was amazed with the efficiency of the whole process.

This is how Piano Skype Lessons were launched. This tuition method, which originally started as 10-minute online piano consultation sessions, has now been transformed into a well-established Skype Piano Lessons Online Practice as another branch of the Piano-Yoga® School. My students come from all over the world: Japan, Australia, USA, France and Germany. The feeling that you can communicate and work with someone on the other side of the world is absolutely amazing and rewarding and I guess, for those who like to study playing the piano through the Piano-Yoga® method, there is no longer the need to travel to London or follow my travel schedule.

Piano Skype Lessons can sometimes be even more focused than traditional piano lessons because all the communication is happening through the camera and therefore the direction of the camera and the size of the screen very much dictates the points that are discussed during the lesson. Somehow, talking about the weather and other pleasantries becomes less appropriate!

Sometimes we aim the camera at the particular hand in question, or at the student’s posture or face. On my side I am often adjusting the camera to show either my hands or do work on particular passages, or to discuss the whole posture issue. Because of this the process appears more intense (in a good way) and far more efficient.

Another plus of these lessons is that they usually start and finish exactly on time, without wasting time on getting ready for the lesson and leaving the room, which can sometimes take up to 10 minutes on each side!

Are Piano Skype Lessons for you? Test yourself against the checklist below:

Many of my students, who I teach at Steinway Hall and Schott Music in London, are still apprehensive about Skype online piano tuition and think that Piano Skype Lessons could never provide an adequate substitute for a normal lesson. Therefore, I created this checklist that will help you decide whether Skype Piano Lessons are for you:

  1. Do you want to study with a particular teacher but find hard to travel to see them regularly?
  2. Do you have a limited amount of time and therefore can not study regularly, due to the amount of time it takes to travel to see your teacher?
  3. Would you like to have shorter sessions rather than the one-hour lessons which many traditional piano schools provide?
  4. If you said yes to question 3 (above), do you think that piano lessons shorter than 60 minutes are not worth your travel time?
  5. Do you find that when you are on holiday and finally have the time to practise, as well as greater inspiration, your teacher is in another country?

If you sad yes to ANY of the questions above then Skype Piano Lessons are for you!

What you need in order to start Skype Piano Lessons:

Before committing to Skype Piano Lessons you need to make sure that:

  1. You chose your teacher because you really want to study them specifically, and not just because they provide Skype Piano Lessons.
  2. You have a good, fast internet connection at the address your lesson is due to take place (at least 2mb download and 0.5mb upload).
  3. You have a good and workable computer with a decent screen resolution (see below).
  4. You have a good quality microphone and good speakers.
  5. You have an adjustable camera (either built into the computer – I usually use my laptop – or external), so you can direct it towards specific perspectives during the lesson.
  6. Your computer can face the piano keyboard (this is why laptops are generally more practical and functional)
  7. You can install the latest version of Skype and check that you can see yourself and the piano keyboard in the camera.

Computer Requirements:
Windows (XP – Win 7) or Mac OSX (Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion)
Minimum 1GHz Processor
Minimum 256mb of RAM
DirectX 9 or above

Screen Requirements:
Minimum of 1280×1024 resolution.

Choosing a Skype Piano Lesson Teacher:

At the end of the day, the efficiency of your lesson will very much depend on the teacher. The market is big and you need to find a teacher who is right for you (A separate blog on this will be coming soon!) Needles to say that the teacher needs to be well qualified, have good teaching ethics and, in general, suit your temperament, as well as share your goals and beliefs.

At our Piano-Yoga® Music School we offer many classes and lessons ranging from 20 minute individual sessions to full three-month courses (‘A’ and ‘B’):
http://www.piano-yoga.com/e-shop/lessons/skype-lessons.php
You can always give us a call for an informal chat via Skype on weekdays 9:00-13:00 (GMT) search for us at ‘piano-yoga’, if you want to find out more, or email us on info@piano-yoga.com.

In conclusion, I would say never stop developing and learning just because you do not have the time or means to travel to a lesson or person with whom you would like to learn, and if you are not a fan of technology do not dismiss the idea of using it to your advantage before trying it! You might be pleasantly surprised.

With all best wishes,
Namaste
GéNIA

Comment » | Piano-Yoga®, Practical Advice

Piano-Yoga® March Newsletter

March 16th, 2012 — 11:17am

Dear Students, Parents and Members of Piano-Yoga®,

Piano-Yoga® School

GéNIA at the Piano-Yoga® School

I hope that this newsletter finds you all very well.

I wanted to update you personally on our news and, in particular, on the recent merger of GéNIA MUSIC Piano School and Piano-Yoga®. The idea for this merger grew organically, since whilst the GéNIA MUSIC Piano School offers ‘standard’ tuition ranging from one-to-one classical piano lessons to jazz and theory courses, Piano-Yoga® works directly on the hands and body, helps to create the correct mindset and generates feelings of well-being. As a result of this merger, our new ‘Piano-Yoga® School’ now has a wide range of classes available:

- ‘Standard’ one-to-one tuition
- Assessment lessons
- Composition
- Theory
- Improvisation
- Playing by ear
- Aural training
- Sight-reading
- Grade preparation
- Personalised course
- Jazz
- Ensemble coaching

We also run a number of courses:

- Boot camp for beginners
- Boot camp refresher
- Three-month course A
- Three-month course B 
- Course of six lessons

For those of you who are interested in the holistic side of piano education we now run:

- Piano + yoga classes at Steinway Hall
- Piano + holistic therapy (in partnership with Neal’s Yard-Practitioner, Angela Allen)
And if you are not based in central London, why not try our Skype lessons? These have proved to be very effective with our students.

All our teachers share our philosophy and provide teaching of the highest standard.

If you are not sure which courses are best suited to you, take a look at the categories on our home page. Whether you are an amateur pianist, piano teacher, professional musician, conservatoire student, or you are looking into lessons for your children, we have made suggestions for the courses and products most appropriate for you.

Please see below for some other Piano-Yoga® news, and I look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into our new community.

Namaste,

TEXT GOES HERE

 

GéNIA

To read the rest of the newsletter and find out about the Piano-Yoga® School Concert, Recording Facilities and our ‘Recommend a Friend’ Speciall offer, click HERE!

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