Progress…in recent years we’ve seen a lot in piano pedagogy.
Starting students “off the page”, with the knowledge that music is not black dots on paper, is a tremendous step forward. Improvisation and composition are coming back, even for very young students. Giving our students tools to self express is vital in our teaching, whether in classical, jazz, or pop.
Piano technique training, however, has not progressed over the years. The same old myths and philosophies of a strong arch, strong independent fingers, and arm weight still predominate.
But injuries in our field are at an all-time high. And colorless, soulless playing is most often the norm.
Our playing must express — just as we express ourselves naturally through speech with our very first words. As in speech, expressive playing requires action, but it does not require strength or weight. Nor should it cause fatigue, or feel like work — it can and must feel effortless.
This expressive ability at the piano can be stifled from the first lesson with old technique training. Storytelling and imagination in playing must be our primary goal at the piano…sound and tone come first. Effortless Playing Piano Technique accomplishes this — for beginner or concert artist.
After two hand surgeries for my own piano-related injuries, and being told I would not play again with my right hand, I was devastated. I didn’t play for 13 years, then started over and retrained for 11 years. I could play again, without pain. But my sound was still wooden and drab, certainly not colorful or expressive.
Meanwhile, helping injured pianists play again had become my passion. And my mission was also to find my long-ago lost expressive playing and enable other pianists to find theirs.
Discoveries made over the past 27 years of retraining my focal dystonia students, and enabling them to play again, culminated in Effortless Playing, which is a groundbreaking approach to piano technique. In addition to preventing and removing injury, a marvelous by-product of these insights is that pianists of every level can learn to create a larger than ever palette of sound, tone, and color.
To acquire injury-free, expressive playing, you too can learn to use the structure of your hand to its highest advantage, which is in its flexibility.
This knowledge gives teachers, students, and performers new tools for solving technical and expressive challenges.
The end result — playing that is soulful, expressive, enchanting, effortless — with a delicious feeling that you are “being played”.