WELCOME TO THE
NEIL STANNARD PIANO STUDIO
"PLAYING THE PIANO IS EASY
AND DOESN'T HURT."
Having trouble playing quick scales evenly?
Are you afraid of leaps, octaves, double notes?
Do you feel stuck in the black keys?
Do you tire easily or, yikes, have pain?
I've been helping pianists with these issues and more for forty years. It's no fun trying to make music while questioning technique or enduring discomfort. Ask me. I love questions.
I work with pianists who have
achieved proficiency in classical sonatinas and
beyond. Professionals with specific technical or
physical concerns benefit greatly from this study.
Teachers are especially welcome.
We are located in Cathedral City, CA, Palm Springs adjacent.
Skype and FaceTime are available.
On the Charles Bridge during a pilgrimage to Prague, site of Don Giovanni premiere in 1787.
The theater is still active.
What to Expect
PLAYING THE PIANO IS EASY AND DOESN'T HURT
In our study of piano technique, we learn to recognize differences between technical and musical problems and how the two are interrelated. The following are some of what to expect in a lesson.
• MYTHS AND OLD WIVES’ TALES DEBUNKED.
• A PIANO LESSON IS NOT NECESSARILY A PERFORMANCE.
• EXERCISES? WHICH ONES AND WHY? SOLVE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS IN MUSIC YOU WANT TO PLAY.
• LEARN TO CONFIDENTLY LEAP WITHOUT SEEMING TO MOVE.
• LEARN HOW NOT TO BE TIED TO THE NOTATION.
• LEARN HOW TO PLAY FAST WHILE FEELING UNHURRIED.
• PLAY DOUBLE NOTES VIRTUALLY AS FLUENTLY AS SINGLE NOTES.
• SLOW PRACTICE? HOW SLOW? WHY?
• WHAT IS A NATURAL AND EFFICIENT HAND POSITION?
TEACHERS INTERESTED IN THE PEDAGOGY OF PIANO OFTEN FIND THIS STUDY TO BE PARTICULARLY USEFUL.
BRING A STUDENT TO
EXPLORE SPECIFIC WAYS TO HELP YOUR STUDENTS SOLVE THEIR TECHNICAL PROBLEMS.
They liked us—in no small part because of this charming Brazilian soprano who could break your heart with a floating pianissimo high B-flat.
Yes, I was once young. This is my first New York concert circa 1965 in a private townhouse on Riverside Drive. A Juilliard student of Ivan Galamian, the violinist is the son of the ambassador from Costa Rica.
Unlike life, playing the piano is easy and doesn't hurt. Don't laugh. It's true. And I welcome the opportunity to prove it. In any case, this mantra has carried me through what might seem to others like several lifetimes—performing as a collaborative pianist, soloist and symphony bassist. Through it all I've remained a dedicated teacher.
In case you wonder where I developed this notion, it began to simmer when I took part in the first Taubman Institute at Rensselaerville, NY, in the early 1970s. Subsequently, I participated in several additional institutes at Amherst while studying privately for five years in New York with Edna Golandsky. I was one of the first to play in Taubman's master class. So I can say that I am steeped in the original incarnation of Dorothy Taubman's contribution to the pedagogy of piano technique, successfully incorporating it into my playing and teaching.
I have performed with such international artists as David Shifrin, Hermann Baumann, Eugenia Zukerman, Leona Mitchell, Clamma Dale, Christiane Edinger and others in venues from New York to Moscow, including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the White House, Vienna's Musikverein, Berlin's Hochschule and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. I have played in the Great Performers at Lincoln Center series, the Berlin Festival, the Vienna Festival, Tage Neue Musik (Bonn), Marlboro and the Newport Festival. And yes, I've taught continuously.
Graduating cum laude from USC, a piano scholarship student of Muriel Kerr, Jacob Gimpel and John Crown, I received a Naumberg scholarship on double bass to the Juilliard School (MS), during which time I played in the American Symphony under Leopold Stokowski and in the Marlboro Festival Orchestra with Pablo Casals (Columbia Records). I know. I took a circuitous route to a career as a pianist.
It was during this Juilliard detour that I made my New York concert debut at Carnegie Recital Hall as a pianist with violinist Christiane Edinger and began performing professionally along the Eastern seaboard from Montreal to Palm Beach, New York to San Francisco and across Canada, performing ultimately in all of the contiguous United States and many European capitals.
Later, I studied piano on a German government grant with Gerhard Puchelt in Berlin, completed a doctorate in piano at the University of Arizona with Nicholas Zumbro and for 13 years taught applied piano at the University of Texas at El Paso, where I was a tenured professor. My studio is now in Cathedral City, California, Palm Springs adjacent, where I also write, paint and photograph the world around me. When not otherwise engaged I play Bach suites on the cello.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"...I discovered your Piano Technique Demystified. And what a huge difference it has made to my playing. ...You have given me a wonderful, highly motivating approach to how I look at and learn and enjoy every piece of music." Petey
"I am enjoying your book [Piano Technique Demystified: Insights into Problem Solving] very much, [as it has] helped me to solve the most common problems in the everyday piano practice." Wagner, Brazil
"...thank you for all the books and videos...I have yet to come across guides and explanations as useful as yours. It's all very logical, too. [My teacher] told me to relax when I played. I started to develop pain as I got faster. I was really alarmed with the pain ...[but my teacher said] I had to make a conscious effort to relax, which did little to help me. [Now] my pain is gone and this morning, thanks to your help, I finally nailed down a measure in Rachmaninoff I've been stuck on for a long time. So thank you for your help." Neil B.
"My tendon issues are abating slowly. I'm able to practice again. I'm adopting your technique quite naturally, I'm happy to say. It feels right. It has improved velocity, accuracy and tone. Thank you very much." Stephen B.
"I am finding [your books] extremely helpful—revolutionary even. I am extremely grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and expertise." David S.
That's me on the left after the concert in the East Room. Then Clamma Dale, soprano, President Carter, George Shearing, his date and Rosalynn.
Concert at the White House
That's President Carter sitting next to President Ceausescu of Romania.