Feldenkrais & Piano

Moshe's Wisdom at the Piano

Feldenkrais Method™ to Empower Piano Technique

Israeli physicist Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) developed a method of neuro-motor re-education that has profound implications for human movement and learning. Alan Fraser completed a Feldenkrais professional training in 1992 with the express goal of developing a new approach to piano technique. Since then he has analysed the approaches of Phil Cohen and Kemal Gekic in the light of Moshe's brilliant method, and applies the Feldenkrais principles to every aspect of piano technique, improving pianistic walking by:

  • Likening the hand to a mini-body, the fingers to legs with an 'ankle,' 'knee,' and 'hip-joint'
  • Lying the hand down in the keys the better to sense its internal skeletal structure. As Moshe said, "nobody learned to walk by walking"
  • Empowering the hand's 'hip joint,' the metacarpal-phalangeal joint, by invoking the hand's natural grasping action to stand the fingers up into a fully expressed arch shape
  • Developing thumb opposition to access the hand's full power, ensuring that the thumb metacarpal bone is fully involved in all its movements
  • Eliminating wavy wrist movements that emasculate structural integrity
  • Having the arm follow the hand's inflected phrase movements just as the torso follows the legs in walking
  • Linking the hand's arch-generating action to supportive contractions in the upper arm and shoulder
  • Linking the fingertip to the sitz bones for a sense of support emanating from the whole body
  • Creating fluid torso angles to follow the hand and arm anywhere they move on the keyboard

Participants report that the Feldenkrais approach leads to a refreshing sense of empowerment and a surprising ability to integrate the new hand strategies in a short space of time.