More Breathing at the Piano

Piano Qigong Exercise

In my article about Breathing at the Piano, I shared some tips and simple exercises to help you reconnect with your breathing while playing.

Breathing at the Piano was warmly received. I have heard from, and worked with, many players who found the simple exercises helpful – even revolutionary for their playing. If you’ve not already printed off and tried the FREE exercises, please check them out before going on.

The aim here is to help players easily check in with our breathing when at the piano. To understand the importance of this, please read about “Awareness in Breathing” in my article What is Piano Qigong? and refer back to my article András Schiff and Natural Breathing for more background.

In this article, I will now build on the foundation of the exercises and ideas previously shared…

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How to Warm your Hands

Piano Qigong Exercises

Here’s a short video in which I explain and show you how to warm your fingers using a simple, gentle qigong massage technique:

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Breathing at the Piano

Piano Qigong Exercise

Are you sure that you breathe when playing the piano?

It might seem like an odd question – of course we continue to breathe while playing! But to what extent are we aware of our breath, and how it affects our technique, musicality and comfort at the piano?

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Sit up and Shut down

Piano Qigong Exercises

Here is a simple qigong practice that provides an easy hack for diminishing the effects of anxiety in our lives. It can help before performing, taking an exam, or simply enable us get through the basics of daily life.

Anxiety. It seems to be the curse of the modern age, inflicting and blighting so many of our lives. As pianists we often talk about “performance anxiety”, but the truth is that our anxiety about performing is often one element of a bigger picture, and shouldn’t lightly be isolated…

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Opening the Chest

Piano Qigong Exercises

“Opening the Chest” – the second movement from the 18 Taiji Qigong Shibashi form – is a great extension to the “Open and Commence” movement previously shared here.

“Opening the Chest” can be used to expand your own Qigong routine as well as to help students who have previously benefitted from “Open and Commence” build on that progress.

Before practising “Opening the Chest”, be sure to master “Earth Posture” and “Open and Commence“.

This next exercise assumes that you are familiar and comfortable with both.

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Open and Commence

Piano Qigong Exercises

The “Open and Commence” movement from the 18 Taiji Qigong Shibashi provides a wonderful way to mindfully reconnect with the sensations in the wrist area, developing supple flexibility.

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Earth Posture

Piano Qigong Exercises

Earth Posture is a very simple Qigong stance which combines many of the most basic benefits of qigong practice, and offers a great entry point to qigong.

In this exercise you will focus on posture, alignment, balance, breathing, and release of tension. These are all crucially important for qigong practice – and for piano playing of course! Earth Posture also offers a fabulous way to quiet the mind prior to mediation, or as a meditation in itself.

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