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New Piano Playing Technique

Discussion in 'Technique' started by bass_clef, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. bass_clef

    bass_clef New Member

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    I’m normally quite cynical about new methods of piano playing, thinking instead that centuries of pioneers must have got something right. After years of repetitive strain injuries on my wrists and back from spending too long at a computer, I was only able to play the piano for 10 minutes at a time. My yoga friend recommended Piano-Yoga, a technique that incorporates hardcore Russian piano playing with eastern yoga philosophies. After 6 weeks of Piano-Yoga I noticed a difference, not only in my piano playing, but my overall physical wellbeing. A year down the line, I am now able to play all the pieces from my childhood at length (much to the delight of my neighbours!). I am fully converted to this new idea.

    I have bought the book, but a lot of the techniques are available for free from the Piano-Yoga website, so you can at least get started. This technique is also particularly beneficial to pianists with small hands as it works on stretching and strengthening the fingers through ‘flat-fingered’ playing.
    Check it out! Let me know what you think ;)

    http://www.piano-yoga.com/

    Bass
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Since you have not introduced yourself and we know absolutely nothing about you, then this seems like just an attempt to sell a product. Sorry, but we don't like that here!
     
  3. bass_clef

    bass_clef New Member

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    Sorry. Is there a place to introduce myself? If not, then my name is Richard, I live in London, I work at a Music Tech College in London and I'm a teaching assistant. Playing the piano is my hobby, although is taking over more of my life since I am able to play more.

    Sorry if my previous post seemed like an advert. It was something I wanted to say is all.

    Bass
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, no worries. :) Welcome to Piano Society, Richard.
     
  5. breakfastshark

    breakfastshark New Member

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    Richard, do you think you can briefly describe the principle of this method? I think it's an interesting concept, but the website requires login to see anything useful. I have a software dayjob and also spend 10-12 hours in front of monitors almost every day. But when I practice piano I feel naturally relaxed and never had any physical problems. So I'm really curious about piano-yoga's core principles, perhaps there's some stuff in common with what I already do unconsciously.
     
  6. bass_clef

    bass_clef New Member

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    When I started Piano-Yoga we followed the first book, which is about finger and hand exercises that are yoga-centric. The one that stood out for me was the flat finger style of playing, which seemed to be counter intuitive at first, but really stretched out and loosened my fingers. I also did a lot of hand exercises that strengthened the muscle groups in my hand. Which was also very helpful.

    As far as my posture and general pains, Genia used yoga pads to position my body correctly and kept an eye on me at every lesson. I do several yoga exercises most days and during the lesson for my whole body, my back and my hands. I think the main point with Piano-Yoga is the way it encourages you to consider the whole body as part of your playing technique, so it's not just what the hands are doing that changes your sound and style, the position of the foot can even have a dramatic effect. The practice also encourages you to consider the link between the body and mind, in the same way yoga does, I guess the aim of all this is to bring everything together and focus your conscious energy thus making your performance or practice have more of an impact.

    Here is a link to a podcast Genia did. Was quite interesting.

    http://piano.itsonamap.com/Flash/interv ... -genia.php

    I signed up to the website ages ago. No need to activate it or anything, and I haven't received spam from it. The free resource are quite good.

    Bass
     
  7. bass_clef

    bass_clef New Member

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    Actually, just noticed that the price of the book has gone down.

    Bass
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    You know, bass_clef, I am still not convinced you are not logged in here with the sole purpose to plug this piano method, or whatever it is. I am a bit wary of people who seem to join this forum only to tout some method or website (though you did post another message which was not related to that, so I may be wrong).

    That Genia, according to what I can find on Youtube and elsewhere, is just a hoot. One pretty lady, going by the piano-yoga website, but all but unrecognizable elsewhere. And the 'music' she plays.... puhleeeeeze give me a break ! An avid reader of Gramophone magazine, I don't recall her being hailed as one of the most exiting pianists of today. The blurb cited on the piano-yoga is just toe-cringing, e.g.

    Who dreams up this kind of goo, I wonder ? Again, I may be completely off in my judgement, but all this sounds not exactly convincing, to put it mildly.
     
  9. keyboarclass

    keyboarclass New Member

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    I've met her, so she is real. Never heard her play though. Maybe Bass can let us know when she's next performing? I'd sincerely love to see and hear.
     
  10. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    Not sure what is new here. Everything so far I read about it is piano basics, to which for marketing purposes Genia adds a fancy word "Yoga".
    What really sets me off is use of words "building muscules" and "finger strength", which reveals complete misunderstanding and confusion (which BTW, are quite common) about piano technique fundamentals.

    Best, M
     
  11. bass_clef

    bass_clef New Member

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    lol. Sorry techneut its just Piano-Yoga has been on my mind. If you know of the techniques that are good I would be interested to hear about them :)

    I like her music :p but then I like minimalism and modern piano music. She's not an overly famouse pianist, but she is good enough to make a living off performances and touring as far as I can tell.

    As for the promotion blarb . . . hmmm yea. Fair point :shock:

    Looking at her website, next performance is in September all over London.

    http://www.genia-music.com/genhtml/news.html

    Marik, what's wrong with words like "building muscules" and "finger strength"? Not criticising, just wondering :)

    Bass
     
  12. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    Well, as far as I know, the best way to build muscules is to go to jim. The piano playing, however, has nothing to do with strength--some well taught 7-year old tiny girls can have bigger sound than some adults. It is all about touch, sensitivity, relaxation, and concentration of energy--its right distribution in the body, and very fast release through the finger tip, with subsequent relaxation. All of those have to do quite a bit with hard mental work. So far from what I see Ms. Genia entirely missed the main point of piano technique, ironically calling "Yoga" something, that in fact, is completely opposite to Yoga principles.
    Hope it helps.

    Best, M

    P.S. It would be nice if Genia herself could stop by and clarify things.
     
  13. keyboarclass

    keyboarclass New Member

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    How do you explain this quote of Chopin's written from Scotland? - 'All I have left is a big nose and an underdeveloped fourth finger'.

    Thanks for the link Bass - maybe I'll catch a Hampstead concert.
     
  14. Marik

    Marik New Member

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    Not sure what is the connection between "strength" and "underdeveloped" (which might be just lost in translation). This "underdeveloped" very well might mean "does not have enough control", which very well in line with Chopin's definition of technique as an "art of sound."

    Best, M
     
  15. keyboarclass

    keyboarclass New Member

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    I'm sure, barring strength, Chopin's finger control would have been superb.
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Chopin can keep his nose, but I wouldn't mind if all ten of my fingers were his fourth finger! :wink:
    And now I'm off to the gym (note spelling) - maybe I'll skip kickboxing and do yoga instead... :lol:
     

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