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These archives give you an insider's glance into the Alan Fraser Institute.

--- Get to know some of the participants in these introductory videos.

--- The extensive lesson excerpts offer valuable insights into the unique qualities of Alan Fraser's teaching.

--- Alan Fraser's lectures present you with some of the theory behind the practice.




First of all... food! And drink! And camaraderie! To play piano well, nourish your other senses as well!

... please note that for some reason, if you let it keep running, this first video doesn't stop at the end but keeps going and scrolls through all the subsequent videos on this's a snafu we have not been able to resolve...

And now let's get down to business: the improvements at the Institute can be graphic and unexpected... Here the change in the sound derives from John's hand creating forces from the inside instead of transmitting forces that come through it from the outside. His hand structure is growing instead of 'withstanding the onslaught.'


At the end of the week, participants share their impressions - what they got out of the Institute







A Pianistic Makeover with Mozart's Turkish March: This lesson zeroes in on the limitation in the hand of a less advanced student, providing a complete revamp in its organization to transform her sound and facility. Fraser shows the same passion and curiosity here as he does with more advanced pianists - the exploration is always a fascinating one. A typical and highly illustrative first lesson from Salt Lake City Day 1, 2012.

Scales & Arpeggios, Day 1:
Excerpt from a lesson showing how activating the lumbrical & interossseous muscles can take the bumps out of passagework.

A series of lessons on LISZT'S BENEDICTION (an expansion of the 'before' and 'after' clip above)

Liszt's Benediction, Day 1: Fraser began with a detailed evaluation of what is already excellent in John's playing, then introduced the question, how might we take it further? He decided to galvanize John's hand get hand activity in gear just before each chord, making the hand structure move vitally from within to produce a singing sound. This is in contrast to what happened before, when the hand's power was occupied in stiffening to resist the arm's force coming down through it as you see in the opening clip above.


On Day 2 Fraser takes a totally different approach with Scriabin Etude Op. 42 #4: Fraser seeks now to enliven John's hand from the inside in a more subtle, sensual way. It cultivates a different quality of singing that he hopes will eventually suffuse even the most heroic and majestic passages in the Liszt.


Liszt Benediction, Day 3: They begin to integrate the two extremes explored on the first two days.



Liszt Benediction, Day 6: The sound of the piano is transformed because John has really transformed the inner workings of his hand. Because John has a performance this evening, there is no further detailed work, just the fine-tuning and integration of the week's learnings. Notice that the role of the arm is now emphasized as an integrative and phrase-shaping entity.









After publishing All Thumbs, his third book on piano technique, Fraser has new insights to share in how the thumb is best involved in scales and arpeggios. Here is an excerpt on that quirky digit, The Thumb:


The Arm is another crucial element of a pianist's technical equipment - the following excerpts explore its phrase-shaping role, common misuses of the arm, and misconceptions surrounding the use of arm weight.