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 courses, books and ebooks that offer 4-in-1:

  • Fresh priorities for fluent, expressive technique free of excess tension
  • A fresh philosophy for learning repertoire assuredly
  • An aid to presence and concentration
  • Beautiful music at every stage

What it is

    Piano Portals is about how to play - in the ergnonomic sense (rather than how to find the notes for beginners) - and the how may surprise you!

    It's for you if you're:

  • a thinking post-beginner pianist seeking to play fluently and expressively
  • an open-minded advanced pianist seeking to refine technique and avoid excess tension
  • a radical piano teacher with a holistic outlook
  • a mature teenage pianist
  • serious about improving technique whilst enjoying the process
  • seeking to take responsibility for your playing coordination and wellbeing
  • suspicious of, or disillusioned by, mechanical exercises
  • blocked or frustrated and open to new ideas
  • open to challenging orthodox views on technique

What it isn't

  • a beginners' tutor (a 'how to play' from scratch)
  • a guide to music theory
  • a dogmatic 'method' - it invites your honest, conscious engagement
  • an inscrutably complex guide to the physical minutiae of playing

What's special about it?

  • It addresses fundamental issues in your own playing coordination, facilitating all repertoire (rather than treating individual technical difficulties as they arise)
  • It assumes that separating technique from musical Flow is all but pointless
  • It cultivates efficient, expressive whole-body coordination at every stage
  • It advocates fresh, transformational priorities - not dogma to follow uncritically
  • You become the expert and take charge of your wellbeing, 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 guiding 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 also assumes that trying to 'work on technique' outside of musical Flow is all but pointless.

And it deals with fundamental issues in your own coordination that can facilitate all difficulties, rather than addressing technical difficulties one by one (forever?!) in repertoire.

How can I learn more?

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To buy the Piano Portals products – physical or electronic – please visit the shop.

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