Study Group


SPRING 2024 sessions starting SATURDAY MARCH 9th

The Pianimals study group is for those less lazy than Sleepy Bear (pictured below). If you have completed the Pianimals Online Institute and want to continue honing this approach, sign up for the Pianimals Online Study Group, an Awareness Through Piano Movement/research group focused on one study piece per session.

Melt your hand into the keys like Sleepy Bear - afterwards it will stand up nicer!

Please note that we are returning to our old time of 16:00 CET. Please see the time zone adjustment table below.

  • Group members prepare in advance by studying the piece, developing a list of possible Pianimals strategies that could address the technical and interpretative issues.
  • Participants and particularly the designated performer present their conclusions.
  • The designated performer plays the piece.
  • Participants consider the issues raised by the discussion and the performance.
  • Alan works with the performer applying the ideas of Pianimals and Piano Somatics to the interpretation.
  • Alan creates an Awareness Through Piano Movement (ATPM) lesson that grows out of the performance issues raised in the study session.
  • Closing discussion.

In this new format, many participants love being able to mute their microphones and practice the solutions being presented in real time. It's a new, effective way of delving into the nuts & bolts of the Pianimals language and learning to apply it in practical teaching situations.

90-minute format:

  • The "guinea pig" participant plays the study piece receiving "bullet-style" tips on how to improve the performance by applying the Pianimals ideas.
  • Fraser then creates a half hour ATPM that incorporates the techniques discussed in the lesson.

Pianimals Pupil Vol 1
   Come let Alionus help you with your piano technique...


Are you hesitant to attend? Feel you are not advanced enough? Not well-enough prepared? Don't worry; Alan welcomes all, no matter what your ability, no matter what the state of your program. The Institute really is open to all interested pianists:

  • students who wish to improve their sound and agility
  • adult amateurs who wish to feel more in command of the instrument
  • teachers who want new ways of teaching technique to their students
  • professionals who wish to hone their skills to the highest possible level.

There is no limit to improvement!


Due to Alan's scheduling commitments, this spring we will not always be able to follow the usual bi-weekly pattern. Please check these dates and register for as many of them as you can make... and let us know when you would like to be the "guinea pig."

March 23 2024 Tchaikowski
The Seasons op 37
March and April
Christine T March, lh: Skating Sloth,
Cockatoo Carol, Tai Chi walking
March, rh: Floating Flamingo,
Rotating Rattlesnake,
Teetering Toucan, Barmy Bunnies
April, lh: Skating Sloth,
Kangaroo Chords (chords; leaps),
Strolling Stork, Tai Chi walking
April, rh: Barmy Bunnies, Oranguthumb
A slow motion,
version of
Kangaroo Chords
April 13 Mompou
Sinden M. - Kangaroo Chords (leaping)
- Sleepy Bear, Skating Sloth (memory)
- Chuckling Chicken (low bass note)
- Stretching Spider & Flying Fox
Sober Lateral Forearm movements
April 20 Clementi
Sonatina Op. 38, #2
Grace - OrangaThumb, Kangaroo Chords (Alberti Bass)
- RockaBye, Barmy Bunnies (m. 68)
- Prancing Stallion Thumb Troll Tromp (16th note passages, thumb)
- Teetering Toucan, Flopping Flamingo, Elegant Alionus (control of cadences)
- Snapping Scale, Barmy Bunnies, OrangaThumb, Yawning Alligator (scales)
Refine Vertical Wrist Movements, Connect Them to the Forearm - More Extension than Flexion
May 4 Schumann
Der Dichter Spricht
Kathleen - Floating Flamingo, Fox Fandango (smooth chords)
- Sauntering Sandpiper (m. 10
Tightrope Walker (end of the cadenza)
Three Strategies to Join Chords Smoothly
May 25 Fraser Repeated Note Exercises TBD TBD
June 8 Bach
G+ prelude, WTC I
Christine O. TBD TBD
July 6 Schubert
Moment Musicale #1
Hans Van Ham TBD TBD

European Time ACTIVITY
16:00-17:00 Individual Repertoire Lesson, Discussion
17:00-17:30 Awareness Through Piano Movement lesson at the piano

Time Zone Adjustment

  • Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Finland: start time 17:00.
  • United Kingdom: start time 15:00.
  • Brazil, Argentina: start time 13:00.
  • N. America East Coast: start time 10:00. (Atlantic Canada 11:00).
  • N. America Central: start time 9:00.
  • N. America Mountain: start time 8:00.
  • N. America Pacific: start time 7:00.

All sessions are recorded so that participants from Australasia may watch without burning the midnight oil.

On March 23rd, North American participants will have an extra hour of sleep, because the US and Canada will already be on Daylight Savings, whereas Europe "springs forward" only the following day.



Up until now, participants have volunteered compositions more or less from the standard repertoire. We would like to make a concerted effort to focus on intermediate level pieces, the ones you often teach your pupils. To this end we have created a list of possible compositions to choose from when you are volunteering to be a "guinea pig."

We do not limit proposals to this list, but present it to suggest the type of repertoire for which we are looking. Select one or several pieces from the list below, or offer something in a similar vein.

  • Bach: C minor prelude from the Little Preludes; something from the Anna Magdalena Bach book; C major prelude WTC I
  • CPE Bach: Solfeggio in C minor
  • Bartok: Mikrokosmos, especially #69 (The chord study from book 3)
  • Beethoven: Sonatas Op.49 #1 & #2
  • Burgmüller: Etudes, Op. 100, especially #1 Candour, #2 Arabesque, #5 Innocence, #12 Farewell, #15 Ballade, etc.
  • Clementi: Sonatinas, Op. 36
  • Cramer: Etudes, Opp. 30 & 40
  • Czerny: The School of Velocity, Op. 299 or other etudes
  • Debussy: 1er Arabesque, Le Petit Negre, Golliwog's Cakewalk, The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, The Little Shepherd
  • Grieg: Lyric Pieces, Opuses 12, 38, 43, 47, 54, 57, 62, 65, 68 & 71... for instance Op. 71, #3 The Puck, etc.
  • Kabalevsky: 30 Pieces for Children, Op.27; 24 Pieces for Children, Op. 39 (especially Ivan Sings or Toccatina); Sonatina in C
  • Kuhlau: Sonatinas
  • Mendelssohn: Venetian Boat Songs in F# minor and G minor
  • Mozart: Sonata in C Major, KV 545 esp. the 2nd movement
  • Schubert: Impromptus
  • Schumann: Album for the Young, Op. 68
  • Tschaikovsky: Album for the Young, Op .39
  • Royal Conservatory Exam Books: anything from the first 8 grades.
  • Hours with the Masters: anything from the first six books

Each session applies the Pianimals strategies to a piece from the repertoire to imrpove both technique and musicianship.

Stepping Stork
Don't be afraid to get your feet wet in the Pianimals Study Group.



To join the study group, pay for as many weeks as you want. Session recordings are sent to all participants at no extra cost: only purchase them if you know in advance you will not be able to attend.

The payment table has links to our retail partner, where you can make a secure credit card payment.

To add recordings to your purchase, from the shopping cart hit the back button twice to go all the way back to this page, select recordings; add them to your cart. To add books to your order hit the back button once, then go to the main store menu.

Pianimals Study Group one session two sessions three sessions four sessions five sessions six sessions seven sessions eight sessions
Participate $28 $56 $84 $112 $140 $178 $196 $224
Buy Recording $25 $50 $75 $100 $125 $150 $175 $200

We offer discounts to

  • students
  • senior citizens 65 & over
  • those in reduced financial circumstances.
Those of you who qualify for a discount should contact IvoIvona Despotovich to enquire about these discounted registration fees.



We'd like to get to know you better. After registration, please come back to fill out this PARTICIPANT INFORMATION FORM. Remember to note in the comments section which weeks you will be attending.

After you've completed your institute, we'd like to keep in touch. Please return here to fill out the INSTITUTE FOLLOWUP QUESTIONNAIRE. This helps you and us to evaluate your experience, plan your ongoing regime for further pianistic advances, and fine-tune the institute structure to better meet your needs.




Canadian pianist Alan Fraser gives master classes and recitals worldwide and conducts ongoing research and refinement on the ideas put forth in his books

He is at work on several new volumes. Visit here for more on Alan Fraser. If you have concerns or questions about your participation in the institute and would like to address them directly to Alan Fraser, send him an email.

Thumb Troll Tromp
Alan is not a Terrible Troll!



Our secretary has been far less lazy than Sleepy Bear, diligently notating which Pianimals exercises we decide apply best to each of the pieces we study. We are finally creating a list of these. The table below charts our voyage of discovery - it is still in development, so if you remember what we came up with at some past session, please do not hesitate to send us an email about it.

Date Presented Composition Presenter Relevant Exercises ATPM
March 18 2023 Matteo Albeniz: Sonata in D Grace
April 15 2023 Bach 3-Part Inventions #11 & #12 Hans
2023-04-19 Bach: Sinfonia (Three-Part Invention) #11 Hans Termite Temerity
Teetering Toucan ("rope fingers")
Skating Sloth
Singing Stork (l.h. m. 9)
Floppy Flamingo
2023-04-19 Bach: Sinfonia (Three-Part Invention) #12
Hans Singing Stork, Strolling Stork
Sauntering Sandpiper
Rotating Rattlesnake
Barmy Bunnies
Skating Sloth (l.h.)
Bach: C minor Prelude, WTC Book I BWV847 Alejandra
Bach: D major Prelude & Fugue, WTC I Cristina F.
Bach: Ab+ major Prelude & Fugue WTC I Grace
Beethoven: Bagatelle in G minor, Op. 119 Hans
Feb 18 2023 Beethoven: Pathetique Sonata, 2nd mvt. Christine T.
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata 1st mvt Siri
Brahms: Ballade Op 10 #1 in D minor Silvia
2023-04-01 Brahms: Waltz in A flat
Kathleen Skating Sloth
Floating Flamingo
LH m. 9 Barmy Bunnies &
Rotating Rattlesnake
M. 36 Tai Chi Strolling Stork,
Singing Stork
the Wrist in
Kangaroo Chords
April 29 2023 Brahms: Intermezzo in A minor Op. 76 #7 Christine T
April 1 2023 Brahms: Waltz in A flat Kathleen
? Burgmuller Tarantella Op 100 #20 Christine T - Barmy Bunnies, Kangaroo Chords, Thumb Exeercises, Floating Flamingo
- Teetering Toucan (middle section)
- Sauntering Sandpiper, Tai Chi Walking (l. h. triplets)
Chopin: Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 #2 Karolinka
Chopin: Waltz in E minor, op. posth. B. 56 Rene
March 4 2023 Clementi: Op 36, #4 Siri
2023-05-13 Heller: A Curious Story, Op 138 #9 Siri RH: Yawning Alligator
- Floating Flamingo
- Chuckling Chicken
- Snapping Scale
LH m. 17 Skating Sloth
LH m. 21: Kangaroo Chords
- Teetering Toucan to thumb
to arpeggio
May 13 2023 Heller: A Curious Story, Op 138 #9
Heller: Etude in A flat major, Op. 47 #23
2023-05-13 Heller: Etude in A flat major, Op. 47 #23 Siri - Teetering Toucan
- Bonging Bells
RH thumb: Skating Sloth plus
- OrangaThumb
to arpeggio
MacDowell:To a Water Lily, Op 51 #3
An Old Love Story, Op 61 #1
May 27 2023
Mendelssohn: Frühlingslied op.62 n.6 (SWW) Maria
Mendelssohn: Venetian Boat Song in F# minor Robert
Mozart: Sonata in B flat major, K570 - 1st mvt. Sylvia
Mozart: D-minor Fantasie Christine T
Mussorgsky: A Tear Christine T
Michael Nyman: The Heart Asks Pleasure First Kathleen
Prokofiev: Visions Fugitives #10, Op. 22 Grace
Debussy: 1er Arabesque Christine O
Bach: Little D minor prelude Alejandra
Grieg: Lyric Piece, Op. 57 #2 - Gade Hans
Einaud: Elegy for the Arctic Sinden
Schumann: Op.68 (Mignon, May, Sweet May!) Silvia
Czerny: Etudes Op. 139, #75 (Gm) and #76 (Bm) Kathleen
Mozart: A major Sonata, K331, 1st mvt, theme & Var. 4 Kathleen
Mozart: A major Sonata, K331, 1st mvt. Siri
Burgmüller Etudes:
"The Pearls," Op. 109, #2
Chordal etude in D minor, Op. 45, #15
Stephen Heller: L’Avalanche Op. 45 #2
Kabalevsky: Etude in a minor Op. 27 #3
Christine T
Schumann: Traumerei Siri
Chopin: Prelude in Db major Kathleen
Debussy: Golliwog's Cakewalk
Little Shepherd
Christine O
Kabalevsky: Morning Exercises Op.3/86, #2
Drummer Op 14, #1
Kabalevsky: Short Pieces, Op. 27
#3 — Etude in A minor
#12 — Toccatina
#13 — A Little Joke
#20 — A Short Story
- Grace
Burgmüller: Etudes, Op. 100
#2 Arabesque
#12 Farewell
#15 Ballade
#5 Innocence)
Christine T
Oct 7 2023 Burgmüller: Tarantella, Op. 100 #20 Christine Thomas
Oct 28 Pythagoras: The Scale of E Major Kathleen Carels The thumb in scales:
- a slinky 'Pacman' move between thumb and hand
- activates the 1st dorsal interosseous while keeping it soft, almost 'ampty'
Nov 4 Chopin: Prelude Op.28 #4 e-minor
Chopin: Prelude Op. 28 #6 b-minor
Christine Thomas e- l.h.: Floating Flamingo (chords)
Kangaroo Chords (thumb)
Skating Sloth (chords)
Rocking the Body
e- r.h.: Sauntering Sandpiper
Teetering Toucan
b- r.h.: Tai Chi Empty Step (orchestration)
b- l.h.: Barmy Bunnies
Rock the body
- Enhance Skating Sloth, Floating Flamingo for e minor chords
- Enhanced Teetering Toucan for e minor melody
- Ultra-Slow Motion Barmy Bunnies for b minor melody
Nov 11 Manuel Ponce: Intermezzo Alejandra Ramirez - Whole Body (l.h. page 1)
- Floating Flamingo (page 2 r.h.)
- Possums, Mozart Monkeys, Teetering Toucan
- OranguThumb (l.h.)
- Stretching Spider (glide palm
Barmy Bunnies, FLoating FLamingo. Chuckling Chicken (cadenza)
Nov 25 Berkovich: Paganini Variations (var. 7) Astrid Lauenstein Floating Flamingo
Floppy Flamingo
Kangaroo Chords
Forte Flying Fox
Tamara Tiger (leaping springboard)
Skating Sloth (horizontality)
Rocking the Body
Cockatoo Carol
Barmy Bunnies for rippled l.h. chords at end
8ves: Growing and 'disintegrating' the hand arch to bring 8ves to life
Dec 2 Mozart: Viennese Sonatina C dur K439b Astrid Lauenstein
Dec 9 Debussy: Dr. Gradus ad Parnassum Christine Olson Barmy Bunnies +
Teetering Toucan
Chuckling Chicken (r.h.)
Most Beautiful Sound
6 OranguThumb,
10 Alligator Yawn,
11 Thumb Troll Tromp
Lazy Lion (l.h. low Bb)
Pogo Stick (l.h. coda)
Bringing the thumb to life in an empty, skeletal way: internalizng the extrenal hand movements of Debussy's Dr. Gradus
Dec 16 Maykapar: Toccatina Op 8, #1 Grace Asquith Barmy Bunnies r.h.
Chuckling Chicken both hands
Tightrope Walker
Pogo Stick
FLoating Flamingo l.h. opening
Combining Chuckling Chicken and Barmy Bunnies; sensing the participation of the sitz bone muscles

Cancellation Policy

If you must cancel your registration, reimbursement will be as follows:
Cancellations more than two months before Institute opening date: 100% reimbursement.
Cancellations more than one month before Institute opening date: 75% reimbursement.
Cancellations more than two weeks before Institute opening date: 50% reimbursement.
Cancellations more than one week before Institute opening date: 25% reimbursement.
Cancellations less than one week before Institute opening date: no reimbursement except in cases of doctor-certified illness or acts of God.
We reserve the right to cancel the institute due to insufficient enrolment; in this event, all registration fees are fully refundable.