Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

‘A Week of Piano and Warm Breezes on the Mediterranean Island of Eternal Springtime’: Guest Blogger Saori Tomoda Shares her Impressions of our Piano-Yoga® Retreat in Cyprus

You often hear horrendous stories about the lives of failed pianists: one who suffered an injury, or another who had a big mental break down and lost their lust for life despite being very talented. This retreat really revealed to us how important it is for us pianists to look after our body and to be healthy and live happily.

Yoga practice, breathing work, diet, posture… The list of topics covered was immense. As the week progressed, we felt our goals increasingly becoming within closer reach as we gradually became stronger pianists. Everything felt like it was falling into place. Our bodies and hearts grew lighter and lighter.

The lectures were all excellent – I enjoyed every one. There was so much useful information and the other participants also shared their very interesting experiences. What interested me the most was the ‘Working with Rhythm’ workshop, and it was very exciting for me to be able to work on a Steinway grand. GéNIA showed us how to incorporate breathing into musical phrasing of a piece. With this breathing, I became physically unified with my piece. I had always connected emotionally with the music I play (well, most of the time!) but I had never imagined being able to be at one with a piece physically in such a way. This was a new and thrilling experience.

There were a lot of masterclasses. Different pianists, different problems. We all analysed each other’s playing and benefitted enormously from working as a team.

We were completely detached from the real world over there. We worked on our music and well-being the whole time, with great food, lovely weather and good company.

I’ll never forget the sunset we saw at Aphrodite beach, our cosy chats at the dinner table, our pancake overdose (!) and our brilliant night out on the town… A very big ‘thank you’ to GéNIA and everyone at the retreat. I really REALLY had the time of my life!

Saori

xxx

Is Piano-Yoga really new?

So many people, when they hear the words Piano-Yoga think: ” well, another trendy new system”, or,  “all this new age holistic nonsense” (the classical music purists) and on a more positive side “well, finally, someone came up with the way of playing the piano which is simple, easy and natural”.

But what’s interesting is that there is one idea that unites all these people, with their rather different attitudes, as they believe that Piano-Yoga is a new unorthodox system of playing the piano.

But is Piano-Yoga really new?

Piano playing methods and techniques have existed for at least a few hundred years, and yoga has existed for much longer. Originally, yoga was a philosophy, the exercise of thought, which later developed into many other branches, with some embracing the physical practice, now so popular in the West.

However, as every philosophy covers thoughts about creation, through various processes, understanding those on a multidimensional level can easily be applied to other aspects of life, be it parenthood, work, personal development ethics, building a house, working on one’s physical state or playing the piano. Playing the piano particularly benefits from applying yogic principles, as it is a discipline that requires a combination of thought, emotions and physical manifestation. Without these three ingredients, the performance would not be complete. This is what makes it so close to yoga, the combined practice of philosophy and it’s manifestation through the physical exercise.

It became apparent to me that there was so much that piano techniques could draw from yoga: ability to concentrate, ability to control the technical work, consistent work on one’s body and thought. For example, intelligent stretching of the hands and fingers increases people’s ability to play a much wider repertoire and increase their strength. There is no “heavy weight” exercises required and no hours and hours of practicing. You just need to be in a right frame of mind, doing the right thing at regular intervals.

This is why I was so delighted with the latest review from Nadia Lasserson, from the  EPTA Professional Piano Magazine, who at first was very sceptical of the method. As the secretary of the European Piano Teachers Organization in the UK, Nadia represented the thoughts of many piano teachers in the UK and I really had no idea what she would think about the method. I met Nadia and gave her a two hour session at the piano, explaining the method. I then did not hear from her for almost a year! I started thinking that she found the method not even worthy of mentioning, until one day we received the review in the post:

“It really does work . . . Many ailing pianists have been helped with this unorthodox and unusual method . . . All teachers should try it”.

 

I was really thrilled, as, of course, personally I knew that it does work, as it has been a foundation of my life and playing for many years. It was really rewarding to hear it from someone who never came across the method before and was not very inspired by the idea in the first place.

By this time we also had another fantastic review from Nancy Lee Harper from  EPTA Piano Journal: “This is a book for a lifetime of healthy piano playing! … This book gets 5 stars from me!”

 

To give everyone the opportunity to get to know Piano-Yoga we are holding various events from the end of 2010 through 2011:

Date: Sunday 12 December 2010

Event: Workshop on “Piano-Yoga®: Transform your hands : A Complete Ten Week Course of Piano Exercises”

Location: Schott Music Concert Hall, 48 Great Marlborough Street, London W1

Admission: Free to all members of EPTA who register in advance. There would be a small number of tickets available for non-Members, Please enquire @ richard,mcdonald@piano-yoga.com

Registration: Please email Richard McDonald, the Administrator of Piano-Yoga and GéNIA MUISC on richard.mcdonald@piano-yoga.com or call on +44 (0)20 72269829

In spring 2011 we will be holding a Piano-Yoga retreat at Steinway Hall in London as well as a one week Piano-Yoga retreat in Cyprus. The details of both events will be released shortly.

Please stay tuned for more information, news and updates.

Meanwhile you can:

Read Nadia Lasserson’s review in Piano Professional on Piano-Yoga book here

Read Nancy Lee Harper’s review in Piano Journal on Piano-Yoga book here

Look inside the book here

Read on tips, articles, back release exercises @ the free members section of the website here

Quickly download the book as eBook or get a paperback here

With all the warmest wishes,

Your Piano-Yogini friend,

GéNIA

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