Press Release

December 1, 2006

DVD version of Alan Fraser’s landmark book, The Craft of Piano Playing: A New Approach to Piano Technique

Maple Grove Music Productions is pleased to announce the DVD release of The Craft of Piano Playing: A New Approach to Piano Technique, a film by Canadian pianist Alan Fraser.

The film presents a series of exercises designed to strengthen the hand’s sense of structure and function, increasing both the power and sensitivity, the relaxation and agility of one’s technique. It addresses technical problems in the new light of recent advances in the science of biomechanics, showing how some of the standard movements in classical piano technique work against the natural structural alignments of the hand’s skeleton. Drawing on chapters from his book of the same name published in 2003, Fraser’s film promises an astonishing enhancement of the colours and sonority one can draw from the instrument.

Piano technique with a sense of humour

The film is of interest to non-pianists as well, not only because it presents a fascinating look at the inner workings of a pianist’s hands, but also because it offers new, practical help to computer operators and others with tendonitis problems. And it is fun to watch, as Fraser’s congenial camera presence never lets his subject matter turn dry – his wry sense of humour often helps illustrate a point.

In Montreal Fraser strikes a blow for transcendant piano technique

In the late 1980’s, concert pianist Alan Fraser conceived the goal of developing a new approach to playing and teaching piano that would grow out of the Feldenkrais Method of neuromuscular re-education. In 1990, soon after embarking on a professional training in the Method, he moved to Yugoslavia to collaborate with virtuoso Kemal Gekich. Their auspicious meeting in 1988 caused a stir when Gekich, the crowd and critics’ favourite, was eliminated from the final round of the Montreal International Piano Competition and Fraser, in protest, organized a free recital that raised $2000 to be presented to Gekich as the “People’s Prize” of the competition.

A country at war, an artist at work

War-torn Yugoslavia in the 1990’s is hardly the place one would expect a new piano technique to develop, but the artists, sequestered in the walls of the 16th century fortress at Petrovaradin on the Danube, turned their isolation to advantage, pooling their ideas and working with a talented group of young pianists at the Art Academy of the University of Novi Sad, co-producer of the film.

Controversial? Yes. Radical? Certainly. Tranformative? Absolutely.

As with any new approach, some controversy surrounds Fraser’s discoveries, which occasionally seem to fly in the face of accepted dogma. Thus the film opens with a cautionary ngote that the exercises, done in a superficial way can aggravate injury, but approached systematically not only offer a breakthrough in the technique of healthy pianists, but also effectively resolve many performance injury problems.

The Craft of Piano Playing is available at the online store of Maple Grove Music Productions –, where a demo can be viewed in real time video streaming. More information can also be found at and