Last month I was fortunate enough to have a piano lesson with noted pianist and pedagogue Alan Fraser.
Originally from Montreal, Canada, Fraser is a professor of piano at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, where he now lives with his family. Alan Fraser is best known for his writings on piano technique, including The Craft of Piano. His piano technique is the result of much research into earlier piano schools and methods, and has resulted in a deeper understanding of the complex physical, mental and emotional processes of artful piano playing. The underlying unifying theme is his analysis of the the innate structure and function of the human hand, which helps you replace tension or over-relaxation with effective hand activation – it’s not so much about the hand’s shape or position as how it moves. He is also an ardent champion and senior practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, which focuses on learning and movement, and which can bring about improved movement and enhanced functioning. Not dissimilar to Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais can permanently improve posture, balance and coordination, and relieve tension and physical discomfort.
I was curious to meet Alan, having come across his writings online and in his book, and via the recommendations of colleagues, and I found him an enthusiastic and inspiring teacher (I was also permitted to observe him teaching another student). While some of his technique and suggestions runs counter to my own teacher’s philosophy, he had interesting and valuable advice and techniques for relieving tension and producing a vibrant sound, and I think as an adult student it is always useful to play for teachers other than one’s regular tutor.
Alan runs regular seminars and masterclasses across Europe and America. Further information about his teaching, writing and performing can be found on his website
It is standard practice for him to film his lessons, and I have uploaded my lesson with him to YouTube to allow others to observe the lesson.