Posture for Pianists 3

Part 3:  Controlling Arm Weight from the Shoulder Blades

In a well-organized pianist no separation exists between posture and technique.  Posture is your basis for action. 

Yet posture is a fraught subject for pianists. Get a group together and someone will say, “yes, but look at Glenn Gould.  He had terrible posture, and he sounded amazing.”  It’s true, bad posture may not get in the way of a  great artist. But what about Horowitz and Rubinstein, Zimmerman and Kissin? Each plays with exemplary posture, and they, too,  sound amazing.  

The question is not whether posture matters—it does.  The question is:  does your posture support your playing or detract from it? Do you have a technique in spite of your posture or because of it?   

“Posture for Pianists” supplies the physical training your musical instruction may have lacked.  The targeted curriculum (open to pianists and teachers of all abilities), will teach you to identify, investigate and improve the essential behaviors that create smooth, efficient, musical movement at the piano.  The aim is to look behind the habits you’ve developed and create clear, testable criteria—ones that help you see where you lack support, where your blind spots are, and how you work against yourself when you play.  These criteria will not only improve your physical mechanics, but also further your ability to work intelligently and specifically with yourself at the instrument.  Our goal is to create more sensitive and productive practicing. 

As a trained classical pianist and sought after movement consultant, Andrew Gibbons coaches musicians, dancers, athletes and other performers to use their whole body harmoniously in the activities they love.  For the last six years, he has taught at the prestigious Marlboro Music festival in Vermont.  “Posture for Pianists” uses the insights Andrew has gained to help you to acquire a more effective posture and a healthy, enduring technique at the piano.

In these workshops you will learn to: 

  1. See, hear and feel what good organization looks like and how it moves via teacher demonstrations, movement lessons and the use of a full-size skeleton model.  
  2. Support your body vs. contort your body.
  3. Understand how your body's proportions relate to choices about bench height, sitting depth, and movement tactics at the piano. 
  4. Detect wasted effort and use the principles of good posture to help solve technical challenges.
  5. Coordinate the legs, pelvis and torso to support your passage work, scales, chords and octaves.
  6. Understand how injuries develop and the movement principles that get violated when they do. 
  7. Learn to break larger problems into smaller, solvable problems. 
  8. Apply specific criteria to tune your instrument before you play the instrument.  
  9. Avoid tensing and compressing the body and holding the breath to play notes and phrases.
  10. Watch videos of pianists in performance and learn to identify certain postural patterns.
  11. Heighten your physical coordination and sensitivity using  “Awareness Through Movement” lessons 
  12. Study specific sitting practices for use at the piano and away from it to enhance your skeletal support and sensitivity.  

 

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REGISTRATION INFORMATION

Sun, Oct 6:  Secrets of Support from the Pelvis. 

Sun, Oct 27:  Moving Laterally with Support

Sun, Nov 17th:  Controlling Arm Weight from the Shoulder Blades

Time: 2:00 – 5:00 pm

Cost: $60 per workshop.  
20% off when you register for all three workshops.  

Where: 41 Union Square West, #409
New York, NY 10003

Please Note: Please bring a section of memorized music for use at the piano. Dress in comfortable clothing that is easy for moving. 

 

After decades of playing piano, I’m glad to have finally found Andrew Gibbons. He is both an excellent Feldenkrais® Practitioner and a trained musician with intimate knowledge of the musical and physical issues that confront every performer. I strongly urge musicians at every level to experience this work. It makes an enormous difference.
— Kathryn Arizmendi, Pianist, Teacher NY, NY