Our Piano Technique Heritage


Rules and Traps

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This is a roadblock to effortless and colorful playing.

Wanda Landowska with Focal Dystonia:

Unfortunately, old harmful rules and traps continue in today’s teaching:

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Old Rules

  • Gravity

  • Relaxation

  • Arm Weight

  • Free Fall

  • Resting Down

  • Strong Arch

  • Strong Fingers

  • Curled Fingers

  • Extended Fingers

  • Finger Independence

  • Finger Exercises

  • Firm Fingertips

  • Slow Practice Drills

  • Wrist Circles

  • Rotation "from" the Forearm

Effortless Playing

  • Overcomes Gravity

  • Uses the entire body: the back, the torso, feet, legs, glutes, arms, freely moving fingers.

  • Suspension, not relaxation

  • Arm and body action, not arm weight

  • Flexible palm, no "strong arch"

  • Back muscles move the upper arm which places each playing finger into its momentary "posture".

  • Fingers can be put into key by arm and palm

  • Fingers can be "played" by the key

  • Fingers can lift, then drop. No pushing.

  • Fingers actively release forward, not up and curled.

  • Rotation: Humerus swivels (with proper use of back muscles) and rotates the forearm.

Effortless Playing training enables pianists of every level to play without strain, fatigue, or injury, and provides a vast palette of sound and color at the pianist’s fingertips for singing tone and expressivity.

The result of the old rules above is a record number of injured pianists, as well as pianists at every level who struggle to play colorfully and expressively.

an example of effortless playing

…enchanting, expressive, effortless.

 Lisitsa describes her technique.

In Conversation with Melanie Spanswick at (6:20):

But I think I was finding constantly a comfortable way to do it, whatever it takes, even if it looks strange or non-typical. If it is comfortable there is no effort in piano technique…
— Lisitsa

In an interview with Pieter de Rooij at (6:18):

My piano technique is unusual and I didn’t learn it from anyone. Actually, my teachers tried to fight me all the way….I get so offended when people try to assign me to certain schools of play…like Russian piano school, Taubman school, Alexander Technique….no, no, no! And Russian school, definitely not.
— Lisitsa