- November 21st, 2013
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Sometimes music speaks better then words…
Sometimes music speaks better then words…
The winter edition of ‘What’s On’, the calibrated performance venue Kings Place’s quarterly magazine, features a full page Q&A with GéNIA where she is asked about her love of the piano, how yoga has informed her playing and her performances at the Out Hear event and with Max de Wardener in 2014.
Go to page 66 for GéNIA’s performance listings.
The International Arts Manager Magazine, the only business magazine for the performing arts worldwide, has an in-depth article on GéNIA and how the Piano-Yoga® method came into being. Below is a snippet of what they had to say and a link to the entire article.
The Piano-Yoga concept developed naturally, initially out of necessity for me to stretch my hands. My teachers had advised me to avoid repertoire written for large hands, such as Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. Unsurprisingly, I became obsessed with the piece and wanted more than ever to perform it. Faced with the refusal of my teachers to coach me on the piece, I looked for other opportunities. The chance came when I was invited to perform with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Asked what I would play, I said: ‘Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’.
In finding the best piano teacher, there are many ingredients that must be right. Sometimes the best piano teacher for one person could be a complete nightmare for another. Therefore, when choosing the right teacher for yourself, child or even for someone else, it is important to use certain criteria which work over and above professional qualifications and/or a friendly personality.
Below is a simple “TO DO” list I recommend anyone to go through when looking for the piano teacher:
2) Years of teaching experience
3) Main area of expertise
4) Level of Professionalism
5) Personal Compatibility
6) The extent of piano teaching
Online Piano Tuition
Here is a little more information about each of those points:
It is good to have the teacher who studied at one of the major Music Schools and Colleges. If you live in London (UK), it could be The Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama or Trinity College of Music to name just a few. Why? Because this will guarantee that the teachers who studied at these establishments have been taught well and therefore will teach to high professional standard and will be unlikely to pass on any wrong or ‘unhealthy’ methods to their students. You can indentify which institution someone has graduated from by simply looking at the letters following their name, and later, checking them online. Also, if you can access the teacher’s biography, their degrees and diplomas may be explained further.
Amongst the most established UK qualifications, here are a few examples of Music Degrees:
BMus, MMus, MPerf, MComp, MA, MPhil, PhD, MMP, DMus and Diplomas LRAM, PGDip, AdvDip, ARCM, DipRCM, ADCM , Artist Diploma, , LGSM, AGSM, PGDip, Dip GSM., ATCL, LTCL, FTCL, PGA, PGD . I have used the examples from the main educational bodies – Royal Academy of Music (www.ram.ac.uk). Royal College of Music (www.rcm.ac.uk), Guildhall School of Music and Drama ( www.gsmd.ac.uk) and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance ( www.trinitylaban.ac.uk)
This can also be quite beneficial. Although there are a lot of young teachers who can be very good and effective, the benefit of working with a more experienced teacher is that, once a student starts facing difficulties (and believe me, this moment always occurs at some stage along the tuition process), the experienced teacher would be likely to guide a pupil through these difficulties more quickly, whereas the younger teacher may not be able to help so immediately, or at all, whilst stumbling through the blocks. It is also good to get any feedback from past and current students of the teacher in question and, if possible, find out about the teacher’s achievement list (for example how many students won competitions, got high grades, participated in all sorts of public performance, etc.).
Some teachers are strictly classical, some do mainly jazz, some do a few instruments. The last group would be the ones I would approach with caution, to make sure that their level of expertise is high enough to teach each instrument. It is also quite good to see if the teacher can play a little bit for you, as then you may know straight away if you would like to learn from this person.
This is a quality that I personally value very much in any area of expertise – it is important that a teacher starts and finishes the lesson on time, clearly explains the fee structure and terms & conditions of the lesson. It is important that a teacher informs a student what needs to be brought to the lesson and what role they expect the parents to play in the students’ education.
This is a very important quality for a teacher to have. It goes beyond just being friendly. The energy and the overall approach of the teacher should match the energy of each student. For example, if the student is in a receptive mode, then the teacher should provide a lot of knowledge, so to be in a ‘giving mode’, but if the student is in a creative and active mood, then the teacher should provide this knowledge through inspiration, by encouraging the student to find an answer for themselves. Experienced teachers should be able to match the energy and state of a student’s mind on each separate occasion. It is very important that both a teacher and a student have a harmonious and balanced energy exchange during the lesson.
This area often gets overlooked, as all we want at the beginning is piano lessons. However, with the passage of time, some students want more then just an hour of piano lessons per week. They would like to know about performance opportunities, the best competitions, thorough help in choosing piano repertoire, information on the best performers, concerts, etc. If you know in advance that you might require some of the above information, it would be a good idea to ask the teacher if they would be prepared to give it to you. Some of them would be happy, whilst some would not, sometimes purely because of the lack of time and/ or knowledge.
Of course, if you want to learn to play piano, you should try to find the teacher who best fits all the points outlined above, and the best might not be in the area close to you. However, it is important to consider the location as, particularly, if you live in a big city where travelling takes an hour or more each way, taking your child after school on a weekly basis may tire them out, and therefore this is important to consider. In general, from my personal experience, students tend to have more regular lessons with teachers who are close to them as compared to less regular, often prolonged classes with the teachers who live far away. For more advanced, adult players this may not be a big problem, but if you are a beginner, you may want to have more regular lessons on a weekly basis (and this is what I would recommend).
During the last 5 years, the number of students I teach via Skype has grown. With faster and better internet connection, this method has became possible. I find the benefits of teaching via Skype (apart from obviously the lack of travel) include the fact that lessons become more precise and concentrated, where the camera lets you direct its focus to a specific angle of the hand and/or finger. The drawback is the quality of sound which, of course, will never be as good as the live sound; however it is still pretty decent. For those of my students who live far away from London, Skype piano lessons provide a great solution which should not be overlooked when choosing the best method of studying to fit in with your lifestyle.
To help you further I devised a simple questioner which I give out in my GéNIA MUSIC School and Piano-Yoga® School, to students who enquire about lessons. This helps them and us to choose them the best teacher and the best approach to the piano tuition:
1) List Your Name
2) List Your Age
3) Describe your current piano playing level
4) What is your piano aspiration (perform in public, do grades, learn to memorise, etc)
5) How much time do you have to practice (realistically)
6) How often can you come to your piano lessons (one a week, twice a week, once at fortnight, come when I want to) or would you prefer to do a lessons via Skype? Or would you prefer to do both?
7) What pieces are you playing at the moment?
What pieces you would like to play?
9) What pieces you listen to?
10) What type of memory do you have (photographic, symbolic, literary, aural)?
11) How do you learn best (aurally, motorically (by repeating after teacher) visually, etc)?
When you start looking for your teacher, it would be a good idea to finalise for yourself what you are looking for, as this would help you to focus on finding the best piano teacher!
Good luck with your search!
Russian Virtuoso Pianist GéNIA is a founder of Piano-Yoga® Method and is the director of GéNIA MUSIC School and Piano-Yoga® School, both located in Central London: www.piano-yoga.com and www.genia-music.com
During August, GéNIA will be performing at the stunningly beautiful Schloss Wartegg in Switzerland on Sunday 11th August 2013. Schloss Wartegg Castle has a deep history as a center of culture and hosts several concerts and performances throughout the year. This, coupled with the magnificent surroundings, made Schloss Wartegg the perfect venue for GeNIA to perform tracks from her new album as well as piano classics from Beethoven and Chopin.
Beethoven Sonata Op. 31 No. 2 (The Tempest)
Chopin Nocturnes Op. 48 No 1, Op. 27 No.2 & Op. 55 No. 2 & Fantaisie-Impromptu Op. 66
Autumn Blues and Storm from GéNIA’s ‘Thoughts of Today, Dreams of Tomorrow’ album
Rachmaninoff Preludes Op. 23 No. 7 & Op. 32 No. 5 & 10
Date: 11th August 2013
Location: Schloss Wartegg, Von Blarer Weg, 9404 Rorschacherberg
Contact: +41 (0)71 858 62 62
More Info: http://wartegg.ch/
You can listen to GéNIA play one of her own compositions in the video below:
GéNIA recently gave an in depth interview to the blogger Caroline Wright on Memorising Music. Here is a snippet:
Do you actively memorise music and perform without a score? If not, why not? If so, why? When in your musical development did you start to memorise?
I learn very fast and always try to play without the score because it gives me a lot of freedom. Without the score, my senses are connected to my hearing and tactile sensations. I find the score a drag as it kills the music! The score can be very limiting, and is not always a good representation of what the composer intended. I would rather play without the score and make a few mistakes, than play perfectly with the score. Having said all that, these days I do use the score sometimes for contemporary music, if I need to play at a short notice or if I know that I won’t play the piece again soon.
I love playing this piece, which is a set of 3 Techno Etudes written by a beautiful Japanese composer Karen Tanaka! Have a super weekend! Enjoy!
Created by Russian Virtuoso Pianist GéNIA, the Piano-Yoga® method is suitable for pianists of all levels and ages and offers a unique holistic system of playing which combines the fundamentals of the traditional Russian piano schools with principles from Eastern philosophies, especially yoga. The method utilises aspects of movement, gravity and breathing that creates a more natural and organic approach to piano playing, performing and teaching.
This workshop would not only suite musicians, but also those who have a fear of public speaking or acting. The founder of Piano-Yoga®, Russian Virtuoso Pianist GéNIA, will be giving practical tips that can easily be implemented into your daily life.
Did you know that a simple yoga belt can make your child practice for much longer, or that a coloured yoga block can make piano practice much more fun!? Bring your children to experience this amazing new holistic method!
Did you know that a simple weakness of your left hand can indicate a problem in your character? Have you ever thought that piano playing can do more for your well-being than just providing musical development?
GéNIA returns to BBC London Radio (The Barking Hour with Jo Good Show) to discuss her music, the composition process and how technology can aid composing. You can listen to three of GéNIA’s own compositions for the piano, part of her upcoming album!
They also discuss with how to generate that instant spark of interest and enthusiasm in new piano students, how to use technology to help students instantly create amazing music that they love (with Store Van Music) and how Piano-Yoga® can help with the learning process.
Skip to 1:01:44 to listen to GéNIA: