Concert pianist Daniel Roberts has developed a course for pianists who struggle with performance nerves. He attributes the nervousness of performers to unresolved tension from strain and injury. In the Course, Piano Mastery, Roberts promises to teach the following:
This course consists of 32 videos, one text and 11 PDFs. These three elements comprise five modules. Each lesson takes from under one minute to just over three minutes to complete. Roberts states that on average, two to three months are necessary for each pianist to implement the techniques into their own playing to see the benefits to his program.
The first step for the pianist to obtain confident, pain-free performance is to prepare physically. Roberts teaches techniques to warm up the entire body starting with the neck. Roberts then proceeds to show the proper way to sit naturally, followed by a twisting exercise for flexibility. He recommends always warming up before playing.
Once the pianist is sitting correctly and warmed up, the course continues with building a tension awareness. As pianists, we can develop habits that cause tension, pain and stress without even realizing it.
Roberts recommends stopping every five to eight minutes to access for tightness or stress in your body while playing. He also endorses recording a practice session and then evaluating the neck, shoulder, elbows and hands to see if there is any tension that you are not aware of. Lastly he wants the pianist to decide if there is any pain anywhere to build awareness of habits that may be detrimental to playing.
The fourth and arguably the most important module deals with practicing the movements that were learned in module three directly into pieces.
Roberts masterfully incorporates the exercises into piano pieces that are common to performers. He uses famous pieces with very difficult passages. In this module, he demonstrates techniques to obtain confident and injury free playing to: move chords, practice octaves, trills, double notes, arpeggio’s and repeated notes. His exercises begin slowly and after the slow practice has been mastered, the exercises speed up.
Daniel Roberts ends this course of study by explaining how to warm up for performances. He instructs to stay calm, slow and relaxed and to focus on the music for enjoyment, rather than perfection. He chooses the most difficult passages to warm up on.
Related: How to Tackle Performance Anxiety
Once you sign up for the course, you have access to it on the internet for life, making it possible to go back review concepts at any time. There is also an exclusive Facebook group for those needing extra help. Daniel Roberts will answer any question, watch video clips of your playing and analyze and issues with technique.
The Fluid Piano Master course is a good course for pianists who suffer from performance anxiety and/or injury. The cost for the 41 minutes and 56-second course seems high at $217US. Much of the material is taught by conservatory, university and other advanced teachers.
The added benefit of the cost of the course is direct contact with Daniel Roberts through his Facebook group. This benefit adds to the investment value of the course.
How do you help your students combat performance anxiety? Have you used Daniel’s course? Leave your thoughts below.