Breathing and stretching exercises for healthy practice and living
Compiled for Pianodao by ANDREW EALES
Getting Started with Qigong
This page brings together some easy Qigong exercises which I believe can help piano players. All are adapted from classic forms and based on the fundamental principles of qigong practice.
Several of the exercises aim to help reconnect mental focus, physical sensation and movement. This involves developing awareness through movement and through breathing. Some of the exercises can thus be done at the piano, but most are done in a standing posture away from the piano.
I have tried to identify exercises that I would use to specifically address problems that pianists commonly face. However, due to the holistic nature of Qigong practice (in which any exercise offers multiple simultaneous benefits) many of the exercises address awareness in breathing, movement, and benefit wellbeing more widely.
With that in mind, it is best to try all the exercises and develop a short daily routine, mindfully reflecting on the benefits of each practice.
Before going further, try this introductory exercises:
- Earth Posture
Discover a balanced natural posture with effective weight distribution using this very easy standing meditation.
- How to Warm your Hands and fingers
A short, easy video tutorial to stimulate circulation and prepare for piano playing.
Awareness in Movement
- Open and Commence
A simple breathing and stretching exercise with a particular focus on the wrists.
- Opening the Chest
An extension of “Open and Commence”, this builds the focus on wrist flexibility while also working the shoulders
Awareness in Breathing
- Sit up and Shut Down
A simple hack to help reduce the effects of anxiety
- Breathing at the Piano
- More Breathing at the Piano
- Breathing with Bach
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