AFF Piano Institute 2015


The Alan Fraser Piano Institute brings a new understanding of the structure and function of the human hand to piano technique. Biophysics and kinesiology have advanced light years since the traditional schools of piano technique were established, and Fraser has created an approach incorporating many new scientific insights.

ALAN FRASER: A MASTER TEACHER With his background in and his long-standing collaborations with pioneer pedagogue and virtuoso , is creating a new wave in the world of modern-day piano technique. Author of three major books, (also in ), and , and with a fourth major work on the way, Fraser has amassed a wealth of knowledge, insight and experience that will help you develop the hand and body coordination you need to:
  • expand your range of tonal colour
  • deepen your musical expression
  • and of course, give you nimbler fingers...

When the body leaves off fighting with itself, its quality of movement approaches the best of more traditional schools of technique - Fraser has simply developed new ways to get you there.

One of the most exciting aspects of his work is that it applies across the board - we all share similar skeletal structure, similar muscles, similar nerves, and so Fraser's approach adds a new dimension to the playing of pianists of all levels. It also effectively addresses both performance injury and anxiety, honing your physical relationship to the instrument to make your playing both more easy and more effective. Here physical aspects aren't separated from musicianship - the more comfortable and skilful the body, the greater the musical expressivity.


Fraser's non-judgemental approach builds on the skills each participant brings to the Institute. This complementarity helps Craft of Piano Method dovetail well with other approaches. The Institute is OPEN TO ALL INTERESTED PIANISTS: students, teachers, professionals, and amateurs both young and old. One of the nicest things about the institute is the cross-discipline camaraderie that develops between group members, who sometimes learn almost as much by comparing notes as they do with Professor Fraser.


To find out more about a specific institute and to register, please follow the designated link.

EUROPE - Winter & Spring 2015

January 15 , Kent, UK @ Sevenoaks School (1 day only)

March 27-29 , Germany @ Klavierstudio Hirschberg

April 16-19 , France @ Domaine Musical de Petignac

April 24-26 , Germany @ Jugend-Musik-Schule Balingen

April 27-29 , Germany @ Studio Mauck

May 1-3 , Netherlands @ Muziekschool Jaap Prinsen

May 4-8 , Germany @ Bavarian Music Academy

NORTH AMERICA - Spring & Summer 2015

June 18-21 @ Hope College

June 22-28 @ Concord Community Music School

July 7-12 @ West Washington University

July 13-19 @ Smith College

July 20-25 @ University of Ottawa

July 27-Aug 1 @ Weber State University

August 4-5 @ Steinway Hall

EUROPE - Autumn 2015

September 17-20 @ Feldenkraiszentrum Chava Shelhav

September 24-27 @ Maison Kleebach


November 5-8 @ Eitorf Muzik- und Tanzschule


- daily group Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lesson

- daily seminar-lecture on specific aspects of piano technique.

- daily piano lessons for all active participants, with all participants both active and passive welcome to attend. A lesson may be given behind closed doors at the discretion of the participant.

All these activities are led by Alan Fraser.


7:30-8:30 Breakfast

8:00-8:45 Individual lesson

8:45-9:30 Group Awareness Through Movement lesson

9:45-10:30 Seminar (see daily topics listed below)

10:30-1:30 Individual lessons

1:30-2 Lunch

2-6 Individual lessons

6-7 Evening meal

7-10 Individual lessons, no observers in attendance


Sunday Alan Fraser Recital 4 pm

Social Hour & Evening Meal 6-7:30 pm

Opening Session 7:30-9 pm

Monday Daily Schedule (seminar: Legato & the Hand's Arches)

Tuesday Daily Schedule (seminar: The Thumb)

Wednesday Daily Schedule (seminar: Arm Weight)

Thursday Daily Schedule (seminar: Octaves & Chords)

Friday Abbreviated Daily Schedule (seminar: Rotation)

Student Recital 8 pm (participation optional)

Saturday Daily Schedule (seminar: Musical Aesthetics and Technique)

Sunday Breakfast 7:30-8:30 am.

Awareness Through Movement 8:30-9:30 am.

Wrap-up Session 9:30-11:30 pm

Farewell & Departure 12 pm


During an institute Fraser accepts students for individual lessons, time permitting. He also works effectively with visitng instrumentalists and singers.

We offer partial scholarships for those with financial constraints. We feel that everyone who wants to attend should be able to attend, and we do our best to make that happen.

We also offer standard discounts to students up to 25 years of age and seniors 65 and over.

  • Student discount: 25%
  • Seniors discount (age 65 and over): 10%

To receive your discount, include the corresponding coupon when you register.


Some Institutes offer university housing while others rely on billeting or websites like to keep the cost of attending an institute reasonably low. See the specific institute page for details.


The greats don't play as they were taught

In the late 1980's Fraser's teacher, Phil Cohen founded the Leonardo Project at Concordia University in Montreal to study exceptional performance in music, theatre and dance. He discovered one common factor uniting all the greatest artists:they don't do as they were taught.a The technique of a great performer transcends the approaches of standard pedagogy and can even radically oppose them. The project also found that qualities of transcendent performancea cana be analyzed, codified, and taught. Standard pedagogical regimes are a necessary preparation, but Cohen's life work has been to cultivate that 'something more' needed to reach transcendence.

The transcendent artist uses his body differently

After a decade with Cohen, Fraser moved to Yugoslavia to begin another two decades' close collaboration with Kemal Gekic, one of today's top pianists. With Gekic, Fraser could observe transcendent technique first hand and understand its workings from the inside out. The transcendent artist uses his body differently: his subtler, more complex relationship to his physical self fosters the deeper expression of his artistic soul.



Aurelien Boccard, doctoral student in piano, University of Kansas: It is no exaggeration to say that Alan Fraser's teaching is revolutionary: I have attended many workshops but nowhere else was I given these insights: how to connect myself to the piano to transform my sound. I have been looking for this knowledge for decades, and finally to have found it - words cannot describe how much it means to me. That one week changed my life. 'Since the Institute I have been playing pain-free consistently for the first time in years. Even more important, I now know what to do when I practice. Before, one day I played well, another day not, and I never knew why. Now I can feel when I am not aligned well, I can hear the detrimental result in my sound, and I know how to fix it.

John Tittmann, masters student in piano, SUNY: I have always known what I wanted to do musically at the piano; I just hadn't been shown the 'how,' Alan has given me the 'how' in a big way - I never expected to develop this much power, this much colour, this sense of enhanced ability where I can simply do things at the piano I previously only dreamed of. Having this much sound at my command has opened up a whole new dimension of musicianship for me - I see how much more is possible in terms of expression than I suspected before.

Irina Saygina, pianist and teacher, Portland, Oregon: I had a very solid and extensive training in Russia, and taught for many years at the Music School in Kiev. But I never experienced teaching like Alan Fraser's. He showed me how to take the strengths of the Russian school and use them to give myself real strength. Actually the strength of my hand was not working for me; it came too much from my arm which made my hand stiffen in response. My fingers which I thought worked so well actually hardly worked at all! Professor Fraser showed me completely new way of involving my whole body which helped my fingers spring into new life, as if by magic. My sound blossomed and became passionate and expressive I was completely surprised and even shocked, but this is a shock I would love to experience any day.

Christine Olson, pianist, teacher and on-site coordinator for the Smith College Institute, Northampton, MA: Coming back for a subsequent years has been so rewarding for me. The ideas and the experience were great the first year, but now with my increasing familiarity it is all becoming richer and more meaningful. And my teaching is totally transformed. I am trying out ideas from the Institute with my young pupils and their hands are waking up and starting to run and dance on the keyboard in a totally new way. Another unexpected blessing from the Master.

Sue Hammond, pianist, teacher, lecturer, and creator of BEETHOVEN LIVES UPSTAIRS, Toronto, Ontario: Take any group of practicing adults and stir them in with Alan Fraser, and you have piano problems solved, fierce friendships made, and a potent longing for beautiful sound. A week with Alan Fraser is magical, motivating, meaty, and altogether marvellous - these demonstrations, lectures and lessons will sustain you for a year or even a lifetime! I've attended masterclasses for forty years, but Alan Fraser's Institute was still a revelation in how to teach fundamentals without ever compromising the music. We worked, laughed, bonded and came away with a whole new world of physicality and sound.

Janet Buhler, Studio teacher, Past President of the Suzuki Association of Utah, Salt Lake City: I came home from this Institute simply blown away with Alan Fraser's teaching. At the beginning of the week he promised each one of us a breakthrough, and I had many. When I tried to describe some of them in writing, I came up with THE TOP TEN THINGS I GOT FROM THE INSTITUTE: 1. I learned to understand how my hand is organized. 2. I am learning to identify bad habits in my practice sessions. 3. Better technique helps me solve imprecise rhythmic problems. 4. I feel a better, closer connection to the piano 5. I learned to listen to my playing. 6. Improving my technique has helped me hear colours or quality of sound better. 7. Improved listening helps me connect to and understand the music. 8. I learned that coordination problems stem from a lack of technique and are not a human defect. 9. I learned to pay more attention to the details in the music. 10. I feel more musical and capable. And there's one huge bonus item: since I got back, my work with my own students has been completely transformed - they notice a huge difference, and their playing is improving by leaps and bounds!

William Manico, lawyer, Washington DC: Alan, your workshop was wonderful. Your knowledge, energy, dedication, long hours, kindness, and sense of humour made this an experience I will never forget. Doctors can have a great bedside manner; you have a great bench-side manner! Your tips re using the fingers have been a great help and continue to transform my playing.

Amy Shafer, piano teacher,Tennessee: I liked the size of the group a lot. It was big enough to have a good deal of interchange and I learned a whole lot from observing the others, but it was small enough that it felt very individualized and flexible according to the needs of each person… After getting home I sat down at my piano to see if I could remember anything. It was thrilling to find that I could still do what I had discovered, making even my simple upright sound like that wonderful Steinway we had the lessons on…


All the institute videos are available at


The Alan Fraser Piano Institute offers a certification process for those who would like to submerse themselves in the method to the point where they qualify to teach it competently. Even after a single Institute, participants report a marked improvement in their teaching skills. They have more fun, and can help their students in new, effective ways leading to quicker progress and more colourful and musical playing.

The certification program requires a more extensive preparation. A Craft of Piano Certified Teacher must be able to join with the pianist-student similar to the way a Feldenkrais Practitioner joins with a client. She or he must be able to evoke a specific quality of deep change in the student's piano technique, change that can take place only when his or her teaching acts on the very core of the student's pianistic self.


1. A minimum of 4 years' study at a full week Alan Fraser piano institute.

2. A minimum of 3 lessons with Alan Fraser between each institute. Because of geographic constraints these lessons may be via Skype.

3. A final exam consisting of:

1. A recital of a half hour to an hour's worth of music.

2. Observed lessons: Professor Fraser will observe the candidate working with a minimum of 4 different piano students, preferably of contrasting levels of ability and with contrasting repertoire, in lessons of a half hour to an hour.

3. A written description of the teacher's work with a minimum of 6 different students, describing the problems encountered and how Craft of Piano ideas and methods were used to cultivate improvement.

4. An oral exam interview with Professor Fraser

Candidates are encouraged to 'try out' different parts of the examination requirements in their work with Professor Fraser beforehand.

If you are interested in Craft of Piano Certification, please consult with Professor Fraser at your Institute.


No photocopied music will be accepted at the Piano Institute in the lessons. Please bring printed scores or take advantage of a special offer from, your online music-on-demand supplier. will print the finest Urtext or Facsimile editions of any selection of compositions from any composers, and bind them in one convenient music score volume for you. Gone are the days when you either have to cheat by photocopying or lug heavy volumes of Beethoven Sonatas etc. around with you.

Inter-note offers a special discount to Alan Fraser Piano Institute participants. Register at and send an e-mail to using your registration e-mail address and including the following text: "I am a student at the Alan Fraser Piano Institute and would like to receive the discount you offer to participants." You will then receive a 10% discount on all your orders.



Canadian pianist Alan Fraser gives master classes and recitals worldwide and conducts ongoing research and refinement on the ideas put forth in his three books, The Craft of Piano Playing (also in DVD), Honing the Pianistic Self-Image, and All Thumbs: Well-Coordinated Piano Technique. He is at work on several new volumes. Visit for more on Alan Fraser.


Each institute has its own in-house coordinator, but it is Sophia Cholich who oversees the Institute general operations as a part of her job at Maple Grove Music Productions. Sophia lives and works in Novi Sad, Serbia.


Please direct all enquiries to