Miami University


Summer 2024 we return to the scene of our first post-pandemic North American institute hosted by Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a lovely university town with a fine all-Steinway music school. The institute takes place in room 222, Presser Hall, home to Miami U's Faculty of Music, with the closing recital held at Souers Recital Hall. There are five practice rooms with Steinway/Boston pianos immediately adjacent to room 222.

To reserve your place, or simply to be notified of updates, please send us an email.

Due to popular demand, this institute will run in two sessions. Please indicate at registration whether you will be attending

  • Session I - July 7-13
  • Session II - July 14-20
Presser Hall
Presser Hall
The institutes run from
  • Sunday through Saturday
The five full teaching days are
  • Monday through Friday.


The Institute promises a breakthrough in your piano playing. Piano Somatics offers new insights into possible "technical upgrades" no matter what your past pianistic experience. If you are hesitant to attend, or feel that you may not be advanced enough, or not well-enough prepared, fear not! Alan works effectively with all pianists, no matter what their background, their ability, or the state of their program. Working on a relatively new and un-seasoned program, for instance, offers the chance to develop new practice habits before old ones have been firmly entrenched. The Institute really is open to all interested pianists:

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

There is no limit to improvement!


Instrumentalists and vocalists are also welcome to attend the institute: Fraser's application of Feldenkrais ideas to musical performance works equally well no matter what your instrument.

Souers Recital Hall
Souers Recital Hall


Miami U. Music Faculty students and staff are welcome to audit the institute at no charge, and receive a 35% discount on active participation fees. Students under age 25 from other schools receive a 20% discount, and all seniors 65 and over a 10% discount.


2021 saw the publication of Pianimals, Fraser's new piano method based on the Feldenkrais Method. If you are a local teacher who wants to introduce Pianimals into your studio but cannot attend the institute, there will be an Introduction to Pianimals held at the Oxford Music Academy which you are welcome to attend. Date to be confirmed, probably on the weekend between the two institutes. The special focus will be using Pianimals to empower the technique of your young pupils, and you can also bring select students for short demonstration teaching interactions. Please contact Sophia Cholich for more information.

Fraser in the teaching studio
In a lesson


Your registration packets will be distributed at the opening gathering Sunday evening when we will meet in the Scott Hall lounge for refreshments (6 pm), a meal together (7 pm) and the opening session (8 pm).

8:15-9:00 Extra lesson as needed
9:00-10:30 2 lessons
10:30-11:30 Group Awareness Through Movement (ATM)™ lesson
(If possible, please bring your own yoga mat or blanket for this class. A few extra mats will be available for those arriving by air.)
11:30-13:00 2 lessons
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:30 2 lessons
15:30-16:30 Seminar & Group Awareness Through Piano Movement (ATPM)™ lesson
16:30-18:00 2 lessons
18:00... Evening meal & chill out time
19:30... Extra lessons as needed

In the seminar-ATPM, Alan begins by lecturing on a topic, then fields some questions about the material, and then creates an Awareness Through Piano Movement lesson that grows out of that lecture's focus.

You can attend the entire day but also also free to take a break, rest or practice. Each entire session is recorded and will be made available for future reference.

The schedule is identical for Session I and Session II; only the participant list will change.

Sunday 17:00 - Informal meetup, registration confirmation, refreshments - Residence Lounge
18:00 - Informal meal together - Residence Dining Hall
19:00 - Opening session - Residence Lounge.
Monday 9:00 - Daily Schedule - Presser Hall
15:30 - Seminar: Hand structure & function in piano playing: "There is no drop."
Tuesday 9:00 - Daily Schedule - Presser Hall
15:30 - Seminar: Introduction to Pianimals: Piano Somatics Practicalities.
Wednesday 9:00 - Daily Schedule - Presser Hall
15:30 - Seminar: How do you Play the Piano with Your Whole Self?
19:00 - Drum Circle in Pete Carels’ Drum Studio (at his residence)
Thursday 9:00-13:00 - SOUERS HALL: 8 half-hour lessons on the concert hall Steinway
13:00-14:00 - Lunch
14:00-18:00 - Presser Hall: 8 half-hour lessons to recap the morning concert hall experience
Friday 9:00 - Daily Schedule - Presser Hall
15:30 - Awareness Through Piano Movement to integrate & retain your new skills.
19:30 - Closing recital (optional participation) - Souers Recital Hall
21:00 - Post-recital festivities (mandatory participation!) - Presser Hall Room 222 or Residence Lounge
Saturday 10:00 - Debriefing & Closing Session - Residence Lounge
12:00 - Farewell!

The question period in each seminar is a chance to take the discussion in a whole new direction, for instance, to a topic covered in some past institute. Is there a topic in the chart below of special concern to you? Make a note to bring it up with Alan in one of the seminars.

Hand Structure & Function The Celestial Hand Arch - The Voice of the Piano
Weight Technique Arm Weight, the Anti-Gravity Function, Elasticity and Biotensegrity Update
The Thumb I Pass And Do Not Pass The Thumb Under: It's Complicated!
Rotation Rotation at the Micro and Macro Levels
Musicianship & Technique Physical Strategies to Enhance Phrase, Polyphony & Orchestration
Feldenkrais & Piano Expressively Directed Micro-Timing: A New Musical Aesthetic
Pianimals Use The Pianimals Exercises & Compositions in your Teaching and your Playing
Q & A Which Aspects of Piano Somatics Intrigue You... Frustrate You... Mystify You... Empower You?

a lecture
Lecturing, 2016



Located in south west Ohio in between Cincinnati and Dayton, Oxford is well within driving distance of several Midwest cities.

Here is the location of Presser Hall at Miami University, Oxford:

Note: Parking passes are available for all dormitory and conference center residents at no cost.


The two nearest airports, each about an hour away, are Dayton International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. There are several shuttle services available.


Uber is also a reasonable option, and convenient if you already run the app.

Private Shuttle Services

Several private residents of Oxford drive people to and from the airport for a fee somewhat more affordable than these commercial alternatives. Contact Kathleen Carels to explore this option.




We have reserved several reasonably-priced dormitory rooms in one of the STUDENT RESIDENCES, exact address to be determined, just a few minutes' walk from Presser Hall, and even closer to Souers Hall, for participants attending the entire week.

  • XL single bed
  • Mini-fridge in each room
  • All rooms are air conditioned
  • Separate mens and womens communal rest rooms, with one single bathroom on each floor for those with special private needs
  • Large communal kitchen on each floor
  • Large common room on each floor
    • $54 Single Occupancy per person/ per night - $324 total.

Availability of these rooms is limited, so please reserve them as soon as you register to assure yourself a place.

There are some hotels in Oxford, and also a large selection of Airbnb possibilities, although most of them are a drive from Presser Hall. Campus parking pass not included.


Dining rooms around campus and the Armstrong Student Center serve a variety of food options. Single meals may be purchased. There will be no meal plan for just one week. The summer schedule is not yet available naming which dining halls will be open, but one will surely be nearby. Armstrong will also be open with several restaurant/food court style options. As soon as the summer schedule becomes available we will post it on this page.

Note: The entire Miami U. campus is completely cash free. Bring a credit card for all around “cash” needs on campus.


An area known as Uptown is within easy walking distance of campus, with several dining options in addition to many bar food choices. Kofenya is a typical, comfortable shop with the best coffee in town. The two main grocery sources about a mile away are:

  • Kroger - sells almost everything
  • Moon Food Coop; small and mostly organic options with a great deli.

A  Lesson
A Lesson



  • The active participation fee covers a daily individual lesson, daily group ATM and ATPM lessons, daily seminar lectures, and observation of all other lessons.
  • The passive participation fee covers full participation in all activities but with no individual lesson.


It is possible to combine active and passive registrations. For instance if you only want a lesson every other day, purchase three Active Participant days and two Passive Participant days for a total of five. This is easy to do: just hit the back button on your browser after purchasing three Active Days, to add the two Passive Days all in one simple payment procedure.

Add your dorm room reservation the same way.

Click on your preferred option below to pay by credit card at our retail partner,

Oxford Ohio Institute one day two days three days four days five days add dorm
Active Participation $175 $345 $517 $687 $857
Passive Participation $60 $115 $170 $225 $275
Single dorm room in student
housing, 6 nights from
July 7-13, 2024 or
July 14-20, 2024

At completion of your registration, please return here to fill out the PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION FORM, indicating which institute you will be attending, what days, and what type of accommodation.


We offer discounts for Miami U. Music Faculty students and staff (35%), senior citizens (10%), students up to 25 years of age (20%), and those in reduced financial circumstances (decided on each individual case). For more information, please contact Sophia Cholich and let her know your status. If you qualify for a discount, please verify your scholarship status with us beforehand, then make a full initial payment after which you will receive a partial refund.

Miami University is cash free. Only credit cards are accepted in dining halls, etc.



After registering, please return here to fill out the PARTICIPANT REGISTRATION FORM.

After you have completed your institute, please come back to fill out this FOLLOWUP QUESTIONNAIRE. This helps us evaluate your experience, tailor your ongoing regime to facilitate further progress, and fine-tune the structure of future institutes to better meet participants' needs.


To keep in touch with each other through the week, we all installed the WhatsApp app on our phones and exchanged phone numbers. Thus last-minute changes to lesson or lecture times could be communicated easily and effectively. We recommend doing the same this year.

Frequently Asked Questions


Could you clarify the difference in "course load" between active and passive participants?

Passive participants are invited to attend all activities, that means do the Feldenkrais lessons, listen to the lectures, and watch all the individual lessons. Active participants are invited to do the same, and in addition they have their own individual lesson.

If we have an active lesson, can we watch the other students or are we off somewhere preparing our lesson in the practice rooms?

Of course, many would find attending absolutely every lesson, lecture and ATM lesson overwhelming, so people tend to come and go, observing some lessons and then skipping out on others to either practise or just chill. Everybody is really free to pace themselves according to their own needs. Some people do, amazingly, stay for every single event every day and just drink it all in. Our hats are raised to them in appreciation!

How long are the individual lessons?

If it is a very full Institute, 45 minutes. If the Institute is not completely full, then 50 minutes. If the Institute is rather empty, the lessons can even go on to the full 60-minute hour.

Are we supposed to be bringing music we are working on, or are the classes mostly movement-based?

Please bring all the repertoire you are interested in working on. The Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lessons are useful in themselves, but especially useful when they are applied to your current repertoire. You are encouraged to bring pieces which you know well, pieces which you are just learning, and pieces which present specific technical challenges. You can also bring pieces you are teaching to your students. All this can be grist for the the learning mill.

One part of me thinks, this is my one chance to work with Alan Fraser; I should do it all (5 active days) and sleep all next week. But then I think no, mixing and matching passive and active would be better so as not to keel over with exhaustion.

If this is a concern for you, why don't you register for 3 active and 2 passive days, and then if you find that you could use more active lessons, we can arrange it (time constraints allowing) on the spot.




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 questions about your participation in the institute and would like to address them directly to Alan Fraser, please feel free to send him an email.

Alan with the decoration conferred upon him in 2016 by our original institute organizer, Christine Olson


Kathleen and her husband Peter are retired members of the community and have been associated with Miami U. for several decades. After a 40-year hiatus, Kathleen returned to the piano a few years ago and began using the Pianimals exercises to enrich her physical relationship to the piano. This led to an musical blossoming so profound as to move her to organize this institute, and she is now in her second year as person-on-the-ground for the N. American Piano Somatics Institute. We are grateful for Kathleen's initiative in approaching the folks at Miami U. last year to get the the ball rolling. A lot of research and legwork was involved!

Kathleen is here to answer your questions. Send her an email or call her at 513-476-1192.




Joyce Cameron had a long career as a pianist and pedagogue until an illness curtailed her playing. She came to the Pianimals Online Institute to gain help in recovering her piano abilitites, and gained so much that she contined as a treasured member of our ongoing Study Group. She always had an insightful comment and her smiling presence was a real blessing to the group. Sadly, she passed away in December 2022, and she is sorely missed in our sessions now.

The Oxford Ohio Institute of Piano Somatics is held in memory of Joyce Cameron, a Pianimalist of the first rank.

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.