A fresh approach to playing
Piano Portals is a holistic approach to piano technique, practice and performance.
It challenges conventional assumptions and offers fresh, surprising points of focus for your practice.
Uncover elements of playing coordination that've been all but neglected by history.
Play fluently and expressively. Transform technique through self-awareness.
4 in 1
Courses, (e-)Books and Cheat Sheets for:
- Fluent, expressive coordination free of excess tension
- Feeling 'in your body', increasing focus and well-being
- Flowing, enjoyable music-learning
- Facilitating advanced techniques
Who it's for
- Post-beginner (from 'Grade 1/Early Elementary) to Advanced teens to adults and their teachers
- Piano teachers of children (Beginner onwards)
- Pianists who feel disconnected, blocked or anxious
- Pianists who are serious about improving technique whilst enjoying the process
- Pianists seeking to take responsibility for their own progress and well-being
What it's NOT
- A complete beginners' tutor (yet)
- A dogmatic 'method' - it invites you to engage honestly and creatively
- An unrealistically complex approach to the physical minutiae of playing
What's special about it?
- It addresses fundamental issues in your playing coordination holistically, facilitating all repertoire
- It addresses technique from within your body's flowing connection to music rather than trying to separate it out
- It advocates fresh, transformational priorities for your practice
- It empowers you to become the expert through deepening self-awareness and holistic learning
Do I have to cough up to try it out?
Piano Portals is accessible and transparent - you can begin to transform your playing right now without investing a penny by exploring the Piano Portals Free Taster.
Can't I just use Chopin's Études?
If you want to improve your technique through deepening self-awareness, complex Études are the hardest place to start. They're musical masterpieces that require an expressive, efficient technique but don't contain within themselves a route to attaining it. They're more of a barometer of technical proficiency. Piano Portals invites you to examine your priorities in practice. Are they helping you towards mastering the études? Unhelpful priorities turn études (and everything else) into frustrating dead-ends. It's easier to deepen self-awareness and cultivate technique in the simpler, purpose-designed musical environment of Piano Portals and apply what you discover to more complex contexts. Then, you can focus on the music - as you must when there are so many notes! - safe in the knowledge that your coordination is serving you well.
Is anyone else doing it?
Piano Portals Founder, Stephen Marquiss, explains, "In all my experience of pedagogy - lessons, masterclasses, courses, books and videos - I've rarely known the fundamentals of Piano Portals to be given much attention, let alone the transformational significance that I've come to believe they deserve. The weight of tradition remains firmly behind other priorities."
The only comprehensive precedent is the writing of Abby Whiteside (1881-1956), whose ground-breaking essays expound radical, fresh priorities, based on her tireless observations of how able players actually use their bodies versus what is often taught. Piano Portals owes a debt of gratitude to Whiteside's pioneering work and has evolved over twenty years into a straightforward, accessible, inspirational approach.
What are the underlying principles?
Piano Portals is underpinned by the audacious claim that a handful of fundamentals of able players' techniques have been all but neglected by orthodox pedagogy. These fundamentals offer solutions to all technical difficulties. It's frankly an elephant in the practice room. They're explored in detail in the Piano Portals Online Foundation Course. The Piano Portals Free Taster introduces them.
It assumes that trying to 'work on' technique outside of musical flow is all but futile.
It addresses fundamental issues in your own coordination that can facilitate all difficulties, rather than addressing technical difficulties one by one in repertoire.
The Original Music
Please note that in this playlist I simply play through the music from the Original (e-)Books. The Online Foundation Course and (e-)Books are packed with creative ways for exploring it to transform technique - the only resource for technique that you'll ever need!