A fresh approach to technique
Piano Portals is a groundbreaking, holistic approach to technique.
It's accessible and enjoyable, it challenges convention and offers fresh, surprising points of focus for your practice.
Unveil transformational elements of playing that've been all but neglected by pedagogy.
Play fluently and expressively through deepening self-awareness, not dogma.
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
- Intermediate to Advanced teens to adults seeking fresh solutions to technical difficulties
- Committed, open-minded amateur players seeking to play more fluently and expressively
- Professional players seeking to revisit and refine advanced techniques
- Adult returners seeking a fresh approach to fluent, expressive playing
- Players who feel stuck, blocked or disillusioned
- Last but very much not least, teachers of all of the above
What it's NOT
- A complete beginners' tutor (yet)
- A dogmatic 'method' - it requires honest reflection and engagement
- Full of unnecessarily complex descriptions of the physical minutiae of playing
What's special about it?
- It invites you to address fundamental issues in your playing coordination, facilitating all repertoire
- It breaks the cycle of facing technical difficulties from square one as they arise
- It transforms technique from a musically and emotionally connected place, acknowledging the central role this plays in technique
- It assumes that exercises that take place outside of a deep-seated musical connection waste precious time
- It advocates fresh, surprising points of focus in your practice
- It empowers you to become the expert through deepening self-awareness rather than dogma
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!