THE NEED FOR A NEW APPROACH TO PIANO TECHNIQUE
Countless excellent piano methods exist today - but some pianists still fall short of their full potential. Many pianists play with unquestionably beautiful tone and expression, but fewer possess the big, orchestral sound that was the trademark of the Romantic virtuoso. The mark of each artist’s personality is less visible than it was in a bygone era – and there’s a hidden underlying cause: limitations in one’s physical organization. To improve this situation is the aim of Alan Fraser's Craft of Piano Method, which also effectively addresses another pressing concern: performance injury.
What makes Craft of Piano Method different?
Recent insights into the nature of human movement offer new opportunities for improvement. We know more about how the brain uses the sensory-motor feedback loop to control the muscles and bones, fine-tuning a movement’s accuracy literally dozens of times a second. More is known about the hand’s innate structure, and how its natural grasping function is hidden in virtually all finger actions. Craft of Piano Method links these developments in kinesiology to practical applications in piano technique, creating a focus on the physical that enriches personal expression rather than sterilizing it.
The basic components of Craft of Piano Method
Instead of defining a particular movement as good or bad, Craft of Piano Method enriches the sensory picture of your hand, allowing you to find the best way of moving in any pianistic situation. In Craft of Piano Method, old terms take on new meaning – for instance, relaxation is no longer an end in itself but becomes a means to greater activation of the hand. And new terms are introduced, such as skeletality: how the bones would move if you were a skeleton and nothing more. You learn to make your bones do more of the work, your muscles less. Freed from the need to stiffen or take over the work of the skeleton, your muscles can now fine tune movement, leading to a new level and quality of control - more refined and more powerful.
Craft of Piano Method analyses whole-body actions such as standing, walking or running, then creates a pianistic analogy to give your hands the sense that they are really starting anew, learning from scratch, with the exciting possibility of leaving old counter-productive habits behind and developing new combinations of grace and power, sensitivity and brilliance at the keyboard.
At the piano we first look at legato, the foundation of piano technique. We discover the structural integrity needed in the hand to create a legato that really joins notes together but avoids stiffening physically – the combination of structural stability and moveability that your hand needs to do the job. We then examine other types of finger action before moving on to the role of the arm in this complex and multifaceted process. Every physical step is linked to listening: to the aural result any particular physical organization will obtain. This is real piano technique: the kind that enhances musicianship instead of distracting one from it.
How can I improve my piano technique with Craft of Piano Method?
Learn to sense your own structural power. Lessons in Feldenkrais Method ® can help you experience in your whole body the incredible release of muscular tension that happens when you access your skeletal power. Or go directly to the keyboard where you can learn how to stand, walk and run more 'skeletally' with the help of Alan Fraser's works on piano technique: The Craft of Piano Playing, Honing the Pianistic Self-Image, and All Thumbs: Well-Coordinated Piano Technique.