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.
15.00 – 16.00 Combating Stage Fright (60 min)
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.
16.00 – 16.30 Piano-Yoga® for Kids (30 min)
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!
16.30 – 17.30 Improving Yourself (60 min)
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?
Achieve your piano performance goals from anywhere in the world, over the internet, with our interactive Piano Skype Lessons. Get all the benefits of a one to one piano lesson or piano life coaching session live from the comfort of your own home, and be taught by the Head of Piano-Yoga® School, Russian pianist GéNIA!
‘I would encourage any pianist, amateurs and professionals alike, to sign up to one of [GéNIA’s] courses!’ International Piano Magazine
Now you can start benefiting from the powerful Piano-Yoga® technique straight away. With our unique Piano-Yoga® School based in London, piano lessons using Skype offer those unable to travel to us a chance to study piano online. You can have a Skype Piano Lesson from anywhere in the world and, with our continuously growing international community, we welcome pianists of all levels and backgrounds! Whether you are in the United States, Australia or anywhere in the UK, you now have the opportunity to study the piano from the original Piano-Yoga® source; founder of the method, pianist GéNIA.
In these sessions you can work on your technique, prepare for your graded Associated Board Exams or Performance Diploma, get feedback and advice on your posture, receive tips on stress management technique and discuss any questions and concerns that relate to your piano playing (even choosing the best piano to suit your needs)!
Apart from teaching the Piano-Yoga® method, GéNIA has been advising many musicians and young people on how to embark on professional career path, whether to become a piano teacher, accompanist, concert performer or break into a pop music/dance industry. With Piano-Yoga® holistic method, all the elements of your well-being, music potential, circumstances and current education are taken into account and through individual coaching your dreams are transformed to a vision that could become a reality.
“The 21st century answer to playing the piano” Yoga & Health Magazine
What you get:
Exclusive one to one piano lesson
Tailored approach to your technique
Personalized Practice Plan
Step by Step Guidance
Stress Management Technique
Piano Life Coaching
Body Maintenance Exercises
Flexibility in your Training Hours
The top quality advice at the comfort of your home
If you want to have a quick experience on all what Skype Piano Lessons have to offer you can try a short 20 minute session or, if you already know that this technique is for you, sign up to our courses A or B to benefit fully from the method. The choice is yours!
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no-one can take it away from you!” B.B.King
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In Piano-Yoga® we believe that creating an optimal environment which promotes the student’s sense of well-being is the best approach to learning the piano. When we feel relaxed, think positively and our concentration is at its peak, we can learn more quickly and efficiently. In this state, learning can even feel like having fun, where studying and mastering something new become an effortless and pleasurable experience.
It is true that some of the best educational systems (like the Russian school, for example) are based on a strict, disciplined approach to learning, where competition is the upmost motivation for success and the strongest students are stretched to the maximum. Such systems have produced amazing results, but the weakest emotionally often give up, unable to progress and develop.
Whilst Piano-Yoga® aims to help students to perfect their technique this is only a tool, as our foremost motivation is to make the piano playing process as enjoyable and pleasurable as possible, within the wider framework of the student’s lifestyle. In order to do this not only do we instruct students specifically in the Piano-Yoga® technique, but we also show them how to efficiently schedule their practice sessions, and how to take care of their health and their body in order to get the most out of their practice and create a positive mindset.
I like to address this issue by using ideas taken from ancient Indian Ayurvedic philosophy – the traditional Hindu system of medicine, based on the idea of bringing balance to the body using diet, herbal treatments, yogic postures and breathing. In line with the discipline of Ayurveda we ask students to pay attention to what they eat, ask them to monitor how they feel each day, and if they are not happy with the results we teach them how to change their sense of well-being, correcting it through various exercises, simple posture adjustments and the use of aromatherapy. We very much encourage our students to create a practice environment full of clean energy, and where the student feels comfortable, safe, private and nurtured.
Would you like to try this for yourself? Here’s what you can do in just one week:
Notice when your energy is at its best and try to practise at that time
Are you a morning person or evening? Is the afternoon the best or the worst time for you? Try to practise when you brain is at its best and your muscles are not stiff.
Find out if there is a regular time you can practise and, if possible, stick to it.
Getting into a routine will help the body to feel comfortable in its environment and will enable you to concentrate faster and more acutely.
Try not to practise on an empty stomach, but also not on a full one. According to how you feel we recommend using the main principles of Ayurveda
According to Ayurvedic principles a person can either be TAMASIC (sluggish/slow), RAJASIC (hyperactive/fast) or SATTVIC (balanced) depending on their current state of mind. If you are feeling unsettled you will most certainly be feeling either Tamasic or Rajasic and therefore should aim to bring yourself back into a Sattvic (balanced) state.
Decide how you are feeling at this present moment: TAMASIC or RAJASIC?
For people in TAMASIC (sluggish/slow) state I recommend:
Going for a brisk walk before practice, if possible.
Playing the piano at a moderate or fast tempo but not too slowly!
Eating a moderate amount of RAJASIC foods before practice to induce more energy into your system (chocolate, tea, coffee (but not too much of these, otherwise you may find yourself in a rajasic state) as well as fish, eggs, chilli peppers and strongly-flavored herbs and spices to help bring yourself into a state of balance. Do some physical exercise. Yoga is excellent as long as it is a vinyasa sequence (dynamic flowing yoga practice). This encourages better blood circulation and warms up the muscles.
For people in a RAJASIC (hyperactive/nervous) state I would recommend:
Going for a slow walk or doing some simple slow stretches, mainly with forward bends (make sure that you do not have any back issues and know how to do stretches safely).
Playing everything on the piano slower then usual. Eat some TAMASIC food before the practice time to induce a calming effect on the body (i.e. meat, cooked vegetables, mushrooms, dried, tinned and frozen fruit).
Practising slow, deep breathing as it has an excellent calming effect on the body. (The yogic breath technique of Ujjayi is particularly good if you are familiar with it – otherwise I would recommend initial guidance from a qualified yoga teacher).
Trying to meditate and rest more between short practice sessions.
Make sure that you feel comfortable in your environment
In the morning have plenty of fresh air in the room (no dust, as not only is it bad for your health, but it is terrible for the energy of the place). In the evening make sure that the room is warm and well lit, but that the lights are not too bright, as this can make you feel tired.
Do some physical exercises before your piano practice
Doing some physical work can do wonders for your body and mind. Either walking, running, yoga, pilates or swimming: anything that keeps your body alive, well toned and oxygenated. 10–15 minutes of exercise before your piano practice can dramatically improve your playing and your ability to concentrate!
Have some fluids by your side
Preferably have some water (ideally at room temperature, unless you feel hot) or some tea (herbal would be the best, but if you are feeling tired sometimes black tea or coffee can help – make sure that these do not make you too over-active).
Use aromatherapy as this can do wonders from your practice
Before embarking on the use of aromatherapy, I strongly suggest that you do some homework, find out what oils and smells you like and how they make you feel. The oils could either be applied to your skin as a cream or used as a room spray or in oil burners. You really need to know what products you are using and which method is the most effective for you, as it can create a very strong effect and this can really elevate your mood, improve your concentration or simply make you feel happier!
I use room sprays the most, and these days create my own fragrances by mixing various oils. It is so simple: fill a glass bottle with water and add various oils that you like; they usually change with seasons, the time of day and my mood, hence I have many different bottles. Use a diffuser to spray these out. My favorite morning mix at the moment is a combination of cypress, lemon grass, peppermint and lime.
Below are a few examples of how different oils can help you, but really you need to check out yourself what works for you. There are endless possibilities for creating various smells.
Bergamot helps to fight anxiety, confusion, depression, relieve headaches, and reduce irritability and stress.
Pepper is great for fighting apathy, relieving colds, cramps, flu, muscle ache, shock, creating calm and boosting energy.
Ylang-ylang helps to fight depression, stress, improve sleep and enhance mood.
Rose helps with anxiety, depression and fear, creating nurturing and positive feelings.
Clary Sage helps to fight hyperactivity, improve sleep, avoid panic attacks, and induce peace of mind.
Try to pay attention to these few ideas and see how they can improve your practice!
Having said all this, it is important to have a clear goal (know what you would like to achieve from each practice session) and maintain a planned practice process. Try to be undisturbed during your sessions. And always approach your practice thinking constructively: don’t see problems, only solutions!
Here is a little video about our Piano-Yoga® Retreat in Cyprus, which we have created as the ultimate holistic approach to piano learning. It includes piano masterclasses and seminars, yoga exercises, food tasting, wonderful sightseeing excursions and communication with inspiring, like-minded people!
I love going on retreats – there is something very decadent about them. You forget about all the harsh realities and problems of life and concentrate purely on the subject that you love. 24/7. On top of that, you also work on your well-being and everything is taken care of for you. For a short period you get to feel like you don’t have a care in the world…
In the piano community it is more common to go on summer schools and masterclasses, where all the attention is focused on learning and meeting like-minded people, encouraging healthy competition and hours of practice… And yet, I have found that in order to learn more, it is far better to create a holistic environment where you feel relaxed, safe and nurtured. You can be as competitive as you like, but it is not encouraged in this context. Your ability to learn is therefore heightened and your creativity strives forward.
In my own case, I have found that appearing as a concert pianist on a cruise liner makes for the most wonderful sort of personal retreat. While I’m there it gives me the chance to travel the world (which I love), eat healthily, go to the gym and spa as many times as I want, as well as keep up with my yoga and piano practice. The only thing I need to deliver is up to 12 concerts with 6 different programmes, usually within the period of 14 days. I don’t need to think about any practical issues, like grocery shopping or public transport, and with limited access to the internet my contact with the outside world is very much diminished. I can choose how much I want to socialise, but with the status of the concert pianist on-board, no-one really expects to rely on your time. This is my little heaven. I usually do it 4 times a year – mainly in winter to escape the cold London climate (!) – and I always travel to hot countries, as I like it hot! Going on stage 12 times keeps me very grounded and prevents me from becoming too engrossed in what has to be one of the most hedonistic experiences in the world.
Photograph from my last cruise around the Caribbean
This is really where the inspiration for creating Piano-Yoga® retreats came from, with the hope of giving other like-minded pianists the possibility of experiencing the same blissful mix of creativity, nurturing and learning, all in one place. The retreats have been a long time in the making, so we are now very excited that in 2011 they will finally become a reality, with two one-day retreats in London at Kings Place and Steinway Hall and one retreat in Cyprus at the Arte Academy (one-week retreat). The retreats will cover many areas related to piano playing through lectures and masterclasses, whilst working with the participants on their mind and body through yoga sessions specially designed for pianists. During the one-week retreat in Cyprus participants will be also be able to visit beautiful parts of Cyprus (excursions included) and stay in a beautiful hotel, with all meals provided. The two one-day Piano-Yoga® retreats in London will give participants a chance to get a taster of the bigger retreat, while unwinding, relaxing and learning more about piano technique.
And after all, retreats are really what Piano-Yoga® is all about! Because apart from the obvious benefits to your piano technique, what retreats offer is a slice of the whole lifestyle and philosophy for those who love playing the piano in a holistic way.
We are currently talking to a number of other venues in Europe and the USA about hosting Piano-Yoga® retreats for 2012 and beyond, so if you would like to have one in your area, please drop us a line.
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,email@example.com
Registration: Please email Richard McDonald, the Administrator of Piano-Yoga and GéNIA MUISC on firstname.lastname@example.org 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