A fresh approach to playing

Piano Portals is a radical, accessible and enjoyable approach to piano technique.

It challenges orthodox views on what's helpful and what isn't in piano playing.

It empowers post-beginners to advanced players to play fluently and expressively without excess tension.

You become the expert through deepening self-awareness.

4 in 1

Online community, courses, books and e-books that offer 4-in-1:

  • Fresh priorities for fluent, expressive technique free of excess tension
  • A route to feeling 'in your body', increasing well-being and reducing anxiety
  • A calming, mindful practice
  • Beautiful music at every stage

Who it's for

  • thinking post-beginners seeking to play fluently and expressively
  • open-minded advanced players seeking to refine technique and avoid excess tension
  • creative piano teachers who are suspicious of mechanical exercises
  • pianists who feel disconnected, awkward or anxious when playing
  • pianists who are serious about improving technique whilst enjoying the process
  • pianists seeking to take responsibility for playing coordination and well-being
  • pianists who are blocked or frustrated and open to new ideas

What it's not

  • a beginners' tutor (a 'how to play from scratch')
  • a guide to music theory
  • a dogmatic 'method' - it invites your honest, conscious engagement
  • inscrutably complex, unrealistic instructions for playing

What's special about it?

  • It addresses fundamental issues in your playing coordination from a holistic perspective, facilitating all repertoire (rather than addressing technical difficulties individually)
  • It assumes that separating technique from musical flow is all but futile
  • It advocates fresh, transformational priorities for practice - rather than dogma to follow uncritically
  • You become the expert and take charge of your well-being, through deepening self-awareness

Watch me play the music

Please note that in this playlist I simply play through the patterns and pieces. The Online Foundation Course and books explore them in countless creative ways, comprising a comprehensive daily practice - the only resource for technique that you'll ever need!

View the complete playlist

FAQs

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 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 her 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.

How can I learn more?

Sign up with your email address for a free 60-page e-book and occasional news.

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Find out more about how Piano Portals helps pianists.
Find out more about what Piano Portals offers teachers.