Archives par mot-clé : seated

converging piano

The aware practicing of your central nervous system fosters proprioceptive images, which facilitate the flow of your inner vibrating sound towards your instrument. This vibration is directly fed by your quiet natural breathing, and may be visualized as being softly laid on your deep sound source.

Then, your sensation of being seated on the sound actually links your brain to your musical speech, making you forget about your body (the expression tool) and your instrument (the vibration amplifier).


Practicing at the piano is mainly practicing of the central nervous system, whether we are aware of it or not.


{ In 1881 the noted German physiologist Emil Du Bois-Reymond delivered a famous speech on The Physiology of Exercise. }

Du Bois-Reymond said that motor activity of the human body depends upon the proper interaction of muscles more than upon the force of their contraction.


{ Steinhausen on the psychic origin of technique : in 1905, several months after the appearance of Rudolf Maria Breithaupt‘s Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik, Dr. Friedrich Adolph Steinhausen’s Die Physiologische Fehler und Umgestaltung der Klaviertechnik (“The Physiological Misconceptions and Reorganization of Piano Technique“) was published. }

Since every movement is initiated in the central nervous system, practicing is, first and foremost, a psychic process, the working over of accumulated bodily experiences and the adjustment to a definite purpose.

(…) Through practice we can learn to move our fingers at the right time and in exact succession in accordance with a given musical figure. We can also achieve the ability to make fine gradations of tonal volume. But this learning is mental and has nothing in common with the degree of muscle development.

“A quantitatively small alteration in the brain has much greater importance than the most significant muscle enlargement.“

(…) Technique is the interdependence of our playing apparatus with our will and our artistic intentions.


Repeated application of the unconditional stimulus (movements of the playing apparatus) diminishes the extent of irradiation and helps to concentrate excitation. This will then affect only the concerned cells of the cortex’s motor region. For best results this application should be carefully controlled : movements must be watched and unnecessary muscle contractions must be avoided.


George Kochevitsky, The Art Of Piano Playing

piano without blowing

Forget about your body, and concentrate on your relaxed vibration flowing down to your heels (while you are standing up, or being seated like the pianist) : the good sound then surges around. Localize your sound center point, and free your diaphragm so that you feel as sitting on it, then filling your sound with overtones.


{ Steinhausen on the psychic origin of technique : in 1905, several months after the appearance of Rudolf Maria Breithaupt‘s Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik, Dr. Friedrich Adolph Steinhausen’s Die Physiologische Fehler und Umgestaltung der Klaviertechnik (“The Physiological Misconceptions and Reorganization of Piano Technique“) was published. }

Following Steinhausen’s motto that we cannot teach our body how to move, the psycho-technical school suggests that the more our consciousness is diverted from the movement, and the stronger it is concentrated on the purpose of this movement, the more vividly do artistic idea and tonal conception persist in the mind. Consequently, the artistic conception creates a desire for its realization, the will impulse occasioned thereby becomes more energetic, the needed natural movement is found more easily, and the process of its automatization is accomplished sooner.


The roots of technique are in our central nervous system. The problems connected with muscular conditions and outward appearance of our playing apparatus are important, but they are secondary.


George Kochevitsky, The Art Of Piano Playing

voice and air column

When focusing on relaxation flowing down your rear back, starting from the end of your natural (and non-forced) inhaling, your air column – or better, your sound column – must be felt as deep as possible, in order to reach its stable position, as though you were sitting on the radiating vibration, which then excites another column, a physical one this time, your cervical/vertebral spine.


In correct emission, the larynx is lined up against the cervical spine which, excited by the vibrations transmitted to the larynx by the vocal cords, starts to sing of its own accord.

Under these circumstances, the larynx is excited exactly as the strings of a violin. It is the strings that vibrate and the violin that sings. When the posture of the singer is well aligned, his larynx excites the vertebral column just as if it were that little piece of wood inside the violin that is called the “soul“ of the violin. Its purpose is to carry sound from the anterior plate to the posterior plate.  We want to make a column of sound, resonant over and under the glottis, not a column of air, as myth would have it.


(…) But it is one thing to talk about a column of air with all the ideas that are usually associated to it : the push, the pressure, tension on the cords, etc.., but a column of sound is something altogether different.

The latter implies relaxation, a measured and tranquil expenditure, being on the lookout for tension, to reduce effort, to avoid pressure.


Alfred Tomatis, The Ear And The Voice
(translated by Roberta Prada and Pierre Sollier)

piano and posture

If you are a standing-up player, your playing position should embody your actual rooting, making your vertical sound column deeply flow into the ground. In order to assess this verticality, you may picture yourself as being seated on your pelvis, centered on your sound source : so downward-packed, locked on your heels and forgetting about the upper part of your body, your vibration easily takes off.

Such an attitude is also relevant to the piano player, who can picture his virtual verticality down to his heels, while being physically sitting on his stool, delving his feet into the ground.


(…) two other ideas occupied the representatives of the anatomic-physiological school : weight playing and relaxation (…)


{ In 1905, Rudolf Maria Breithaupt (1873-1945) published Die Natürliche Klaviertechnik. }

Breithaupt, a fervent proponent of this idea, proclaimed that the most important principle of technique was a loose and heavy arm (…) In the third edition of the same book he wrote that the ultimate ideal of artistic performance is “predominance of the spirit over the body, liberation from the material, the overcoming of the pull of gravity : only a fine sense of balance is left from the latter… It goes without saying that in the cases of greatest speed the weight seems almost eliminated.“


George Kochevitsky, The Art Of Piano Playing

the posture

Visualize your roots and imagine them plunging into the ground, from the trunk of this virtual tree, represented by your air column. Here you are, straightened up (during your natural inhaling, your air column gets aligned with your heels, making your pelvis slightly tilt to its equilibrium position), then let the central relaxation slide down to the ground, ending with your air column starting to vibrate thanks to your abdomen transverse muscle : Alfred Tomatis highlights this body preparation in The Ear And The Voice.Transverse_EN

You feel like sitting on the sound source, in your Hara which drives your posture (as Marie-Christine Mathieu shows it), and at this time only, your instrument comes into play, amplifying the vibrating sound. Then, as you are stalled on the belt-shaped transverse abdominus muscle surrounding this center point, you end up forgetting all about the upper part of your body (above the diaphragm) ; in his Art Of Piano PlayingGeorge Kochevitsky shows how the arms should be forgotten to free the player technique.

Your actual trunk becomes insensitive (without any move of your shoulders or of your thorax), and although you feel downward-packed, you get aware of your complementary zones, contributing to the sound production :
– your head, merged with the embouchure which is ideally visualized at the lowest level, down to your heels,
– your upper limbs, ending and merging with the instrument itself, as in Dominique Hoppenot‘s Inner Violin / Le violon intérieur,
– your abdomen, like sucked up by the sound source,
– your lower limbs, becoming your actual roots, spreading the sound through the ground and space.


Focus your mind on your back muscles work, while your air flows ; you will get your balance and keep your verticality, thanks to the action of these muscles.

Robert Pichaureau
(translated by Guy Robert)


Your head and your body merge together.
Your feet push the ground, following your inhaling.

Robert Pichaureau, Favorite Expressions
(translated by Guy Robert)


The problems affecting most saxophonists are often self-inflicted. By that, I mean unnecessary bodily tensions accumulate over time and become habitualized. This results in the player’s inability to relax enough to find a physically comfortable and aesthetically pleasing tone.

David Liebman,
Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound


The balance of the standing body builds up from the pelvis, not from the lower limbs.

Marie-Christine MathieuGestes et postures du musicien
(translated by Guy Robert)