The Alan Fraser Piano Institute







Institute Curriculum

Re-Inventing Piano Technique

Designed to bring a new dimension to your piano playing and teaching, the institute combines daily Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement lessons with lectures and individual work at the piano. All participants have a lesson with Fraser every day.


This environment stimulates both body and mind to achieve the breakthrough that Fraser commits to at the beginning of the week. The group's camaraderie enhances the learning process as well – much is gained through comparing notes between sessions.

Participants speak about their Institute experience


Open To All Interested Pianists

Fraser’s approach benefits pianists of all levels - we all share similar skeletal structure, similar muscles, similar nerves, and similar brains. Students, teachers, professionals and amateurs both young and old are welcome as well as singers and instrumentalists.


A Workshop, Not a Master Class

The master class teacher imparts an interpretation, leaving questions of technique to the regular teacher. By contrast, Fraser empowers you to express your own musical ideas at the piano by focusing on technique - always of course linking it to musical structure.


Permission to Play Imperfectly

Pieces brought for study need not be totally polished. Working in the beginning stages of preparation can lead to better learning: old habits are not yet ingrained, new habits more easily acquired. Remember, it's not a master class.


Performance Anxiety and Injury

Honing the physical relationship to the instrument makes playing easier and more masterful. Increased skill improves musical expression and reduces strain - addressing both performance anxiety and injury issues as well as basic ability.


Mini-Institutes

When a full week is not possible, Fraser runs shorter institutes. Full institutes last four days or more; mini-institutes three days or less.

INSTITUTE DAILY REGIMEN

All activities are led by Alan Fraser.


A SAMPLE PIANO INSTITUTE DAILY SCHEDULE
8:00-8:45 Lesson
9-10 Group ATM
10:00-12:45 Lessons
12:45-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2 Seminar
2-6 Lessons
6-7 Evening Meal
7-10 Remaining Lessons (Optional Private)
A SAMPLE PIANO INSTITUTE WEEKLY SCHEDULE
Sunday Social Hour & Evening Meal 6-7:30 pm
Opening Session 7:30-9 pm
Monday Daily Schedule (seminar: New Developments)
Tuesday Daily Schedule (seminar: The Thumb)
Wednesday Daily Schedule (seminar: Arm Weight)
Thursday Daily Schedule (seminar: Rotation)
Friday Daily Schedule (seminar topic: Octaves & Chords)
Saturday Abbreviated Daily Schedule (seminar topic: Musical Aesthetics & Phrasing)
Student Recital 8 p.m. (optimal participation)
Sunday Awareness Through Movement 8:30-9:30 am
Wrap-up Session 9:30-11:30 pm
Farewell & Departure 12 pm

ALAN FRASER DESCRIBES HIS TEACHING

"My teaching is very much 'hands-on.' Your sound improves when your connection to the piano is more organic - in Feldenkrais terms, free from parasitic contraction. Both stiffness and relaxation are superceded by vitality, where you are actively engaged in producing a sculpted, resonant, expressive sonority. You will learn the functional components of this movement style through the lectures, through listening, and through explanation - how to link musical conception to physical organization. At times I explain with a touch that senses and guides without intruding, fluidly joining your hand to the key for a tone both rich and immediate.

'My experience in both piano and Feldenkrais helps my ear and eye ferret out hidden points of tension or weakness that prevent you from creating this sound. Seeing the hand as a mini-body - the fingers as legs, the metacarpal-phalangeal joint as a hip joint, the hand as a pelvis, and the arm as a torso that breathes - helps me pinpoint where your hand fails to stand, walk, run and jump effectively on the keys. Seeing the shoulder as a hip joint helps connect the hand through to the whole body, whose dynamic sitting supports the hand in its empowered relation to the key.

'The physical focus never loses touch with the music. Each physical strategy has an affect on the sound and phrase shape, the musical and emotional expression. Mapping the movement of your physical structure onto the musical structure, you move better while mastering musical content more effectively."


More on the Institute philosophy here: TRANSCENDENCE IN PIANO PLAYING