The Pianist’s Air

The Pianist’s Reflections Series

“Installing air filters in classrooms can raise children’s scores in tests by the same amount as cutting class sizes by a third, research has found…
Mike Gilraine, author of the paper and assistant professor of economics at New York University, said the improved scores were equivalent to ‘roughly two-and-a-half months of extra learning’.”

So blazes a news story published in The Times on January 10th 2020. The article quotes from research suggesting,

“The results indicate that air filter installation is a highly cost-effective policy to raise student achievement “

And it goes on to point out that several London schools, having installed air filters in classrooms. have reported reductions in absence because of sickness, which teachers attributed to cleaner air.

Given my previous writing about the centrality of breathing in piano playing, regular readers will no doubt anticipate that none of this comes as a surprise to me; indeed, I believe that quality of air in my teaching studio is a paramount concern, and have encouraged players and teachers to take the issue seriously long prior to these new findings.

In this article I will offer some simple advice about air quality and the need to create a suitable environment for piano learning. But rather than focusing on the educational benefits in isolation, we need to consider the health benefits first and foremost…

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The Piano Teacher’s Posture

Pathways for Teaching

All good piano teachers are concerned to teach and monitor good posture to their students, and as players we are hopefully equally aware of our own posture at the piano.

But how about our posture when we are teaching?
This, in my experience, can too easily be overlooked as a less important concern.

I am trying to address my own posture while teaching, so write this article to share my experiences and findings, while also suggesting a few easy tricks that other piano teachers can incorporate into their thinking and practice where helpful.

In this article I will hope to touch upon:

  • Should we sit less, and if so how?
  • What about good posture?
  • What other factors have an impact on our working environment?
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