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 still have a lesson with Alan 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
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.
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.
When a full week is not possible, Fraser runs shorter institutes. Full institutes last four days
or more; mini-institutes three days or less.
All activities are led by Alan Fraser.
"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 Both stiffness and relaxation are superceded by vitality,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