A natural pianist plays with a refined and effortless musicality
I use the term Natural Pianist to define a state of dynamic balance wherein musical expression is achieved without strain to the body. A Natural Pianist has the appearance of ease at the piano. He or she plays in a state of somatic harmony which allows the music its complete expression. The goal of my piano lessons is to bring the player into this natural condition at the piano.
A method for body-centered
Natural piano training strives to evoke the musician's natural ability to be grounded in the body and express musicality that begins with the breath. In what I call the Foundation for Healthy Development at the Piano.
- Breath directs the energy of musical feeling
- Awareness controls muscular response and releases tension in the body
- Precise technique enables a player to shape and color sound
The skills of a Natural Pianist lead to a refined and effortless musicality. Playing piano and performing is physically and emotionally pleasurable - a joy.
About Annata Black
Annata Black has a wide range of experience in piano performance, music education and somatic practices.
Annata' s piano lessons draw upon her range of study and depth of experience. Her intent is to discover how each student might:
- Access his/her innate musical and somatic intelligence, thus expanding beyond habitual limits.
- Gain the confidence and joy of playing piano developed from careful learning of the craft.
- Discover his/her fulfillment and freedom through an integrated mind, body and spirit.
Annata has studied with such piano luminaries as Rhosina Lhevinne and Jeannine Dowis of the Juilliard School & Aspen School of Music, Gladys Gladstone at the University of Utah (student of Schnaebel), Paul Pollei at Brigham Young University (founder of Gina Bauchauer Competition), Suzanne Rabaud (student of Rachmaninoff).
She studied at the Juilliard School of Music, as well, and holds a B.A. in Musicology (University of Utah) and a B.A. in Music Education (University of Wyoming). She was on the faculty of Western Wyoming College and an Artist-in-Residence for the State of Wyoming as a solo performer, founder of Prisma Chamber Artists (a touring chamber music ensemble), music educator and curriculum developer for the Integrative Arts for Gifted and Talented Programs. She taught Classroom Music (K-12). As a solo recitalist and chamber music player Annata performed outreach programs extensively in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Idaho.
Annata has incorporated into her teaching approach principles of Mind/Body Disciples. She holds certifications in Massage, Cranial-Sacral, Touch for Health, Reiki, Human Design, and has studied forms of Qigong & Taiji.
Annata has been recognized in the visual arts for her large-scale montage works. Exhibits include solo exhibition at the Kaprissi Galleria, Kuopio, Finland, Turku Galleria, Turku, Finland, Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, California, University of California, Gallery of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, Museum of Modern Art, Stanford University, Stanford Californa, Artis Award, Wyoming Council on the Arts.
Natural Piano Training
To play piano naturally and beautifully means to play without interference. Interference describes the habits, patterns, and overall undeveloped mindset that interfere with full musical expression. The seemingly simple goal of interference free playing requires a complex of skills. A student pianist must acquire attention skills, musical understanding, precision technique, muscular and nervous system organization, and body alignment. The method of natural piano training utilized in Annata's piano lessons, and the discipline that results, lead to a type of self-knowledge that the student can apply throughout their life.
Training the mind to sustain attention is the foundation of the work. A focused mind is resilient, open, happy. Effective practice requires subtle attention. The more subtle the attention the more sublime the satisfaction and wellbeing.
Music is a language of notes, rhythms, patterns, structure, and style. Music understanding refers to the recognition of all these elements.
The platform for playing well is precision of timing, dynamics, style, memory. Specific techniques lead students to a steady inner pulse, structural understanding of a piece, shaping of the hand, release of excess tension.
Muscular and nervous system organization
The result of ineffective effort and compulsive fixed patterns of playing are seen in a strained face, clenched jaw, rigid shoulder, taunt muscles, and emotional strain. A feeling response to a piece of music must be accompanied by compatible muscular and nervous system organization.
Many a pianist lives with physical and psychic pain from playing. The repetitive motions, stationary sitting, horizontal movement across the keyboard, intensity of musical feeling and demands of performance can create physical, emotional, psychic strain.
A Natural Pianist has the appearance of ease at the piano. Somatic integration leads to spontaneous playing that is expressive without compulsive strain. The student gains the skill to respond to a piece of music from a state of dynamic balance without strain.
The student pianist constantly faces new challenges that require subtle awareness. The process leads to a centered inner place, a seat of perception, intentional expression and control.
Piano Lesson Structure
After an initial conversation with Annata, a lesson schedule and structure will be planned. A students commits to a trial period of exploration. Thereafter, a lesson structure and commitment is agreed upon.
My time training with Annata was a truly remarkable experience that shaped me as a musician. When I began with her I knew how to play notes, but with her refined technique, she taught me that music is made not through the notes on the page, but playing with your soul through the coordination of muscles not only in your hand, but my whole body. I continue my piano playing as a student at the Denver High School of the Arts.
My name is Ana and I am 72. I have played the piano all of my life, but I only studied for 4 1/2 years, I met Annata in the Spring of 2014. She knew immediately who and where I am as a musician, and exactly what I needed to take me where I wanted to go. Annata is the most amazing, gifted teacher I never could have dreamed of. She inspires me to go beyond what I ever imagined I could or would do. How she does it is pure magic, with an understanding and an intuition that runs so deep. What happens cannot be explained logically but is felt and heard in the growth of my musical experience.
This is the teacher one wants to begin with, so that one can learn from the very beginning, the right way to play the piano. She inspires one to go beyond the boundaries and limits we all find ourselves in, to the very essence of magic in musical performance.
Contact Annata to begin piano lessons based upon her method of natural piano training.
We are born supple, open Beings. We breathe. We feel.
We are sound and movement.
Music is the refined expression of our nature.