Developing a Balanced Technique
Strategies and approaches for achieving "pianistic fitness"
Mastering core piano techniques is essential for the freedom to successfully express musical ideas. Based on her personal experience and the traditions of the Russian School, Ilga Pitkevica shares insights into approaches and strategies for achieving “pianistic fitness” and developing a balanced piano technique.
Ilga Pitkevica-Baldwin graduated from Jazepa Vitola Latvian Music Academy in Riga with honours and a Master’s degree in Solo Piano Performance, Piano Teaching, Accompaniment and Chamber Music. Ilga is a successful piano teacher with the private practice in Cambridge. Since 2014 Ilga has taught as a Principal Tutor of the internationally-acclaimed Piano Teachers’ Course UK. She also lectures in the UK and in Latvia on piano teaching, and on the history and teaching methods of the Russian Piano School.Author profile >>
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In this series of video lectures, I explore aspects of technique one by one. My approach is based on using the body in the most natural ways possible, with emphasis on healthy technique and correct alignment. While I recognise that exercises, such as Hanon, are out of favour with some... Read >>
This module follows on from the introductory module to explore the fundamentals of scale and arpeggio playing, featuring close-up video demonstrations of the movements involved. It provides suggestions and exercises for mastering technical challenges such as thumb passage and gaining speed, with further tips on how to structure scale and... Read >>
Some of the most difficult pieces in the piano literature involve double notes. This series explores how to develop the technical skills needed to play them at the advanced level. It provides detailed advice on how to practise scales, exercises and studies, along with some suggestions for studies you might... Read >>
A thorough understanding of the principles of good fingering is a vital basis for good piano playing. Without comfortable, musically appropriate fingerings, we can waste hours of practice time trying to remedy a problem which could have been averted much earlier. In this series of articles, author Penelope Roskell... Read >>
Forearm rotation is a way of coordinating the arm with the fingers in very specific and controlled ways. Tiny movements in the forearm share with the fingers the job of putting down the keys and can yield significant benefits, including improved coordination, reduced tension and a feeling of greater strength... Read >>
Pianists at the intermediate level should know all major and minor scales (one form of minor), and all major and minor arpeggios in root position. There are several scale manuals available, but this manual is different in that it offers exercises and suggestions for practice, together with short, easy-to-use video... Read >>
Piano playing is a deeply satisfying artistic activity, but it can also be very demanding physically on our arms and hands. Just as elite athletes understand and care for their bodies, so should pianists think carefully about their approach to playing and practising. A healthy piano technique not only avoids... Read >>
Scale playing is an area of piano study that is often neglected in lessons and undertaken only half-heartedly in practice sessions. And yet scales and arpeggios can be approached creatively, and practised in a variety of different ways! This series of resources on scales and arpeggios begins with the current... Read >>
Peter Feuchtwanger was an important teacher who created a series of exercises designed to encourage healthy, natural and relaxed movements at the piano. In this module, Graham Fitch and Daniel Grimwood give their takes on Peter's exercises and share anecdotes from their experience in working with him.... Read >>
Based on motions that are natural to the body, this introductory module explores the basics of piano technique, through a series of videos demonstrating how to move in ways that are natural the body to achieve physical freedom for playing that feels and sounds good. It serves as a starting... Read >>
This series of videos provides a comprehensive treatise on the subject of pedalling, starting with a brief history of the sustaining pedal and a video on finger pedalling. This is then followed by an indepth look at various aspects of pedal technique and types of pedalling, including: direct, legato, fractional... Read >>
This section provides an introduction to what will ultimately be an extensive library of technical exercises and provides an overview of exercise regimens for aspects of playing such as warm-ups, finger exercises, chord playing, octaves, double notes, repeated notes and trills.... Read >>
In this collection of videos, Penelope Roskell demonstrates clearly and concisely how yoga principles can be applied directly to instrumental playing, and how playing can be more fluid, powerful and emotionally expressive. Suitable for musicians of any age; from beginner to professional; Classical, jazz, folk and pop, the exercises demonstrated... Read >>
There have always been first-rate concert pianists at the top of the profession who swear by Hanon’s exercises and practise them daily e.g. Sergei Rachmaninov. Then there are also many piano teachers who condemn five-finger exercises as not only a waste of time but also contrary to a holistic and... Read >>
A thorough knowledge of scales and arpeggios is an absolute necessity for all serious students of the piano. Western music is built on the major/minor tonal system, and to attempt to study the instrument without scales (or basic theory) would be as nonsensical as learning language without the alphabet or... Read >>