Piano Somatics Institute

Participants said...

Watch participants speak about their Institute experience... or read their comments below:

Benchside manner

Alan, your workshop was wonderful. Your knowledge, energy, dedication, long hours, kindness, and sense of humour made this an experience I will never forget. Doctors can have a great bedside manner; you have a great "bench-side manner!" Your tips on using the fingers have been a great help and continue to transform my playing.

William Manico, lawyer, Washington DC

lets make some random changes... and then try to save them... are you watching??? now... and so it goes....

Revolutionary teaching

It is no exaggeration to say that Alan Fraser's teaching is revolutionary. I have attended many workshops but only here have I found these transformational insights. Since the Institute I have been playing pain-free consistently for the first time in years. More important, I now know what to do when I practice. Before the Institute, I never knew why I played well one day and not another. Now I can feel when I am not aligned well; I can hear the detrimental result in my sound, and I know how to fix it. I have been searching for this knowledge for decades, and finally to have found it – words cannot describe how much it means to me. This one week has changed my life.

Aurelien Boccard, doctoral student in piano, University of Kansas

Learning 'how'

I have always known what I wanted to do musically at the piano; I just hadn't been shown the 'how.' Alan has given me the 'how' in a big way – I never expected to develop this much power, this much colour, this sense of enhanced ability where I can simply do things at the piano I previously only dreamed of. Having this much sound at my command has opened up a whole new dimension of musicianship for me – I see how much more is possible in terms of expression than I suspected before.

John Tittmann, masters student in piano, SUNY

Russian revamp

I had a very solid training in Russia, and taught for many years at the Music School in Kiev, but I never experienced teaching like Alan Fraser's. He took the strengths of the Russian school and used them to give me real strength. Actually the strength of my hand was not working for me; it came too much from my arm which made my hand stiffen in response. My fingers which I thought worked so well actually hardly worked at all!
'Professor Fraser showed me completely new way of involving my whole body which helped my fingers spring into new life, as if by magic. My sound blossomed and became passionate and expressive. I was completely surprised and even shocked, but this shock I would love to experience every day.

Irina Saygina, pianist and teacher, Portland, Oregon

Return for a deeping experience

Coming back for a subsequent years has been so rewarding for me. The ideas and the experience were great the first year, but now with my increasing familiarity it is all becoming richer and more meaningful. I feel for the first time in my life I can play with heart. My teaching has been totally transformed: I try out the new ideas from the Institute with my young pupils, and their hands are waking up, running and dancing on the keyboard in a totally new way.

Christine Olson, pianist, teacher and on-site coordinator for the Smith College Institute, Northampton, MA

Magical, motivating, meaty and marvellous

Take any group of practicing adults and stir them in with Alan Fraser, and you have piano problems solved, fierce friendships made, and a potent longing for beautiful sound. A week with Alan Fraser is magical, motivating, meaty, and altogether marvellous – these demonstrations, lectures and lessons will sustain you for a year… or even a lifetime! I've attended masterclasses for forty years, but Alan Fraser's Institute was still a revelation in how to teach fundamentals without ever compromising the music. We worked, laughed, bonded and came away with a whole new world of physicality and sound.

Sue Hammond, pianist, teacher, lecturer, and creator of "BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS", Toronto, Ontario

Top ten benefits


1. I learned to understand how my hand is organized.
2. I am learning to identify bad habits in my practice sessions.
3. Better technique helps me solve imprecise rhythmic problems.
4. I feel a better, closer connection to the piano
5. I learned to listen to my playing.
6. Improving my technique has helped me hear colours or quality of sound better.
7. Improved listening helps me connect to and understand the music.
8. I learned that coordination problems stem from a lack of technique and are not a human defect.
9. I learned to pay more attention to the details in the music.
10. I feel more musical and capable.

And there's one huge bonus item: since I got back, my work with my own students has been completely transformed – they notice a huge difference, and their playing is improving by leaps and bounds."

Janet Buhler, Studio teacher, Past President of the Suzuki Association of Utah, Salt Lake City

Congeniality and individualized attention

I liked the size of the group a lot. It was big enough to have a good deal of interchange and I learned a whole lot from observing the others, but it was small enough that it felt very individualized and flexible according to the needs of each person… After getting home I sat down at my piano to see if I could remember anything. It was thrilling to find that I could still do what I had discovered, making even my simple upright sound like that wonderful Steinway we had the lessons on…

Amy Shafer, piano teacher, Tennessee