Updated: Mar 13, 2020
After I created Piano-Yoga® I have been constantly asked about an holistic approach to various issues connected with piano playing.
The whole story began when I was a student, as I used to practice for up to eight hours per day, due to the pressures of the classical music environment. Additionally, being a pianist with small hands and small body frame, I was regularly asked to avoid certain piano repertoire due to the lack of strength and necessary stretch to master works by the giants like Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and many other composers who wrote compositions which required a big hand-span.
However it became clear to me that, if I wanted to be called a professional pianist, I must have a the ability to play all of the pieces which I want to perform, irrespective of my physical limitations.
Often, due to the extensive daily piano practice, I would exhaust my body to the extent, that I would start experiencing pain in my back. When I was in my early 20’s I started seeing a back specialist on a weekly basis for ‘support’ for my constantly tired back.
One day I woke up and decided that I didn’t want this situation to continue, as I wanted to play the pieces which I always wanted to perform whilst still feeling healthy and refreshed.
This is how I discovered yoga, cured my back, and the rest is history, as I became fully converted…
Searching for a course which would enable me to stretch my hands, I was unable to find one coherent method which would accomplish this outcome, and my frustrations grew to the point where I had to admit: ‘I’ll have to invent these exercises myself, as I can’t waste any more time researching’. Additionally, I had a concert performance of Rachmaninoff’s ‘Variations on a theme by Paganini’ scheduled in 8 month’s time, and had to start seriously increasing the stretch of my hands, or otherwise I would have needed to step down from that concert engagement.
To cut a long story short, I initially created the exercises, which later became the Piano-Yoga® exercises by using the principles from my yoga practice, as I was blessed to have a wonderful yoga teacher, Amanda James, who taught me many of the fundamentals of the method.
The more I got immersed into yoga, the more I realised how fundamentally transformative this knowledge can be, and how it can can help me, and therefore also many other musicians with their technique and perservance, and the maintenance of their physical body, which is so important for musicians.
I set two years aside from developing my career in order to complete the British Wheel of Yoga training and become a qualified yoga teacher. Later, I launched Piano-Yoga® Studio, where I have been working, and held a series of Piano-Yoga® retreats and workshops in London (Kings Place, Steinway Hall, Schott Music), Oxford, Paris, Cyprus and California.
Hence Piano-Yoga® Series of Masterclasses 2020 are offering the Piano-Yoga® approach towards many aspects connected with piano playing and performance, from how to channel your attention in your practice, to the secret of successful posture, and correct fingering. The aim of this series is to offer a non-traditional approach to this discipline.
We are all unique, with an individual body and mind, and it is very important to take this into consideration. Many of us are unaware that there are some basic principles in understanding your body as well as in piano technique, which will allow you to become the master of your own playing. Traditional piano schools do not teach that (sadly!), and therefore many people think that they are not good enough, just because they do not fit into a general category of gifted piano players.
Piano-Yoga® is designed to help you to understand not only the professional ‘rules’ of playing an instrument, but also how to understand and look after your body. This will enable you to find the individual technique which is good for YOU specifically, and this is what I will be offering at my masterclasses. The classes are limited to only ten participants at a time, as I would like to give individual attention to each student. You can read the full programme of the courses and find all the details here.
Looking forward to seeing many of you at the event!