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…
Continue reading More Breathing at the Piano
Guest post by Simon Reich
Unless you lived in a humidified bubble, away from sharp objects and potential harmful items, injuries are part of life.
The response to my invitation for stories and anecdotes regarding incidents that may have curtailed your piano playing or ended your musical career altogether was overwhelming. As I was therefore unable to squeeze the material into one blog, I’ve been compelled to write a second part to You Can’t Stop the Music.
Just to reiterate, the injuries were not necessarily musically acquired, but things as simple as falling off a bike, crushing fingers between two bricks or hurting your back slipping down a flight of stairs.
Amazingly, after writing the first article, I found out my mum has some nerve problems in her fingers.
She told me that as children, her siblings would melt wax on their fingertips and when cooled to dry, play the piano as a fun alternative to the standard method! This was the way she described how playing the piano keyboard now felt. It hasn’t stopped her from performing but it’s certainly put a spanner in the works of eliciting dynamics and feeling to her performances.
Continue reading Stories of Recovery
My wife Louise and I recently visited my cousin and her husband for a delightful evening meal. At some point in the evening, conversation turned to footwear, and my cousin was appalled to learn that I often wear slippers when teaching in my home studio.
Inevitably, I was quickly ganged up on, the object of much mirth. To be honest, it was a bit harsh. Jibes included:
“How old did you say you are again – 87?”
“Do you wear pyjamas and a dressing gown too?”
And even …
“Are you trying to look like Hugh Heffner?”
Now I ask you, what kind of question is that?
Gamely, I tried to defend myself with:
“…but slippers are really comfortable when playing the piano…”
But of course this quickly led to:
“So do all your pupils bring slippers to wear too?”
Which got me thinking …
Continue reading Fancy Footwear?
One of the major stumbling blocks for players is that we too often feel that we are struggling, making little progress, and perhaps just haven’t got what it takes to become a “good player” (however we define what that even is!).
To enjoy playing an instrument, we need to move beyond this negative self-talk. And I suggest that one of the most easy and powerful ways we can all achieve this is to adjust the balance between working and playing during our personal piano time.
Continue reading What Can You Play?
Guest author – Roberta Wolff
Success Criteria to Develop and Enhance Students’ Performing Skills.
The season of exams, festivals and Spring Concerts is approaching so today I am sharing a simple but powerful approach to help students take their piece from practice room to stage.
The tools we will use are success criteria which leave almost no room for ‘failure’, and which develop confidence, and a sense of control and awareness as students practise the art of performance.
Continue reading Developing Performance Skills