Learn to play pain free, permanently
Alignment. Efficiency. Freedom.
Welcome to my teaching page.
I help pianists prevent and recover from injuries by playing with healthy technique.
The world of piano technique is a confusing patchwork of conflicting information. Professional pianists play in all kinds of eccentric, personal ways, and accomplished piano teachers often contradict one another in their recommendations.
Many pianists and teachers get stuck in a certain way of doing things, whether or not their methods are the most effective. This problem is not new.
Piano teaching has a rich and beautiful history but reverence for the tradition is both a blessing and a curse. Outdated, counterproductive strategies from the 19th century have been carried forward by generations of piano teachers. The boring, mechanical exercises intended to achieve finger strength and speed are unnecessary at best, and have resulted in countless injuries. Descriptions of “the arm ailments of pianists” began to appear in print as early as the 1880’s.
Modern approaches to piano technique run into other problems:
- Dogmatic systems useful only when the music fits neatly into their rigid categories of movement.
- Technique focused entirely on the hand and forearm, neglecting to address the rest of the body.
- Relaxation based approaches that are fine for easy repertoire but useless in something like a Rachmaninoff etude.
Efficient, safe, virtuosic piano technique requires a thorough understanding of the tradition, the human body, and the mechanism of the piano.
These three areas of knowledge need to be synthesized and applied in a flexible way to deal with the infinite variety of physical demands present in advanced piano repertoire.
I was stopped in my tracks by tendonitis in my early twenties and quickly realized how much I had been doing wrong at the piano. I found the best teachers in the piano world and outside of it, and devoted myself full time to learning better technique.
I eventually found myself playing better than ever – performing big, virtuosic repertoire without pain – and went on to complete my Doctorate in performance at one of Canada’s top schools. (You can read the whole story here)
“Patrick’s approach to piano technique – combined with his ability to explain and demonstrate – have enabled me to overcome long standing difficulties, to be more confident in my playing, and to feel as though I am finally beginning to realize my potential as a pianist.”– Paul
My teaching is currently focused on working with intermediate and advanced pianists in online lessons. If you are reading this page, it means I have at least one space available for a new student.
I can help you:
- Learn the most important principles of body alignment relevant to piano playing.
- Pinpoint what you may be doing wrong at the piano and fix it.
- Stay present in your body and notice unhealthy movements immediately.
- Choose strategic pieces and exercises to get you on the right path.
- Transform your daily practice into a conscious, health-promoting activity.
- Navigate the physical demands of complex, virtuosic piano compositions.
- Use arm movements to reduce or eliminate strain on the hands and wrists.
- Choose fingerings that allow free movement of the arms.
- Achieve powerful expression through coordinated effort from the whole body.
“Patrick’s technical mastery, musical sensitivity, patience, and general chilled-out demeanour made him the perfect teacher for me!– Jason
It may not be a quick fix. Learning new technical habits takes time and patience, and you might still need medical treatment or general movement retraining in order to heal from an injury.
I only work with pianists who are willing to slow down, see the big picture, and do the daily work required to create a healthy, sustainable musical life.
If that sounds like you, I would love to help.
Click this link to book a 15-minute phone call and see if we’re a good fit.