Master Classes, Clinics on Piano Technique, and Piano Lessons in the studio of Karen Walwyn

How do I approach piano in a safe and expressive manner?

During my six year tenure in Spain, I presented many workshops on technique for the piano. The technique with which I approach the piano helps to secure a safe, expressive, and effectively executed piano performance. Presentation of this technique includes discussion on using weight distribution, wrist rotation, free movement of the elbow, thumb relaxation and natural movement of lower, upper arm and the torso. It specifically avoids the thumb crossing under the hand by instead focusing on the shifting of the entire hand and full arm with assistance by a free and agile wrist.

What is the percentage of piano related injuries?

According to Dr. Teresa Dybvig, Director of The Well-Balanced Pianist, from about 65% – 80%. The intention of my approach to the piano is to help the pianist discover their most natural movements depending on their own physiology and positioning at the piano. The technique helps the pianist learn how to work with gravity and avoid injury such as tendinitis, carpal tunnel or from misuse of the hands by incorporating the larger muscles with constant motion rather than just depending on the fingers with restrictive motion.

Are there specific exercises to learn this approach?

I incorporate the technique within all of the passage work of a piece from slow legato lines to full chordal or 32nd note passages. In addition, the approach is taught within the scales, arpeggios, octaves, trills and the larger chords.

Are fingerings different as a result of this approach?

Yes, fingerings are sometimes different than what the editor may suggest in that many times, the phrases will be fingered from the thumb. The fingerings also support legato lines within the various layers of phrasings.

How does this approach affect levels of dynamics?

The motion incorporated with the finger pads lend to very rounded tones from ppp to fff. . With the understanding of the gravity, angle of the fall and speed, the passage at any tempo marking is more solidly executed at the desired dynamic level with the incorporation of this approach.

Dr. Walwyn is accepting students from beginners to advanced levels of all ages. She is also available to work with students of jazz piano in need of a solid technical foundation, and also for professional musicians who play by ear and want to learn how to successfully sight-read music.
To schedule a master class with Dr. Walwyn, please click here