Creativity at the Piano in Vienna, 2025

Students will have

opportunities to practice on  

historical instruments, such as the 

Hammerklavier shown here.

Mark Your Calendars! Course dates for 2025!

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First session: June 23 through July 4
Second session: July 14 through July 25
Third session: August 3 through August 14

Are you interested in broadening your horizons at the piano while learning new skills every day? Then this is the course for you!

Choose from a variety of focus areas to take your playing to the next level and to explore your own creativity! A lot of the course activities grow organically out of collaborations with peers and teachers, but here are some descriptions to get you thinking about possibilities…
 

Compose music? Where do I start? 

The most challenging step for novice composers is knowing where to start and where to take inspiration from. This workshop will take students through various improvisational drills and dialogues to get them thinking about just what kind of piece they might like to write. 

Whereas at advanced levels your teachers might encourage you to write what you hear, at earlier stages some constructive 'messing around' at the keyboard will encourage you to listen for new sounds and generate your own ideas.

Over the five days of the course, faculty will guide you through developing these ideas into your own composition for piano. You will learn skills including: finding inspiration; generating and developing melodies, harmonies, and rhythms; structuring your ideas into a form; editing and polishing your music, including using software. There is no expectation for any specific kind of composition - it's a wide open field! You will have fun and be amazed listening to your own project unfold and those of others!

Already a composer? Our faculty will provide optional challenge exercises and tips so that you can take your writing to the next level. 

You will walk away from this course with a complete piece and you may choose to feature it in the end-of-week performance.

Here are session descriptions for starting a creative path at the piano. As with any creative endeavor there may be overlap, jumping ahead, and retracing of steps in each session, but this provides a general structure for what will be introduced.

Improvisation with movement patterns and intervals, as solo practice and in duets.

Relating improvisation to repertoire study: where can we find similar patterns that composers used?

Transitioning to composition: how to take your improvisations and capture ideas on paper, with a discussion of strategies and pitfalls

Working with forms: How to organize ideas and when is the piece finished?

Showcasing our work at the end of each week

Rhythmic and Repertoire

These sessions will provide students with more opportunity to develop important rhythm and ensemble skills. Activities will include: learning challenging rhythmic patterns from diverse musical cultures, listening to and perusing piano pieces that utilize these rhythms, and trying our hands at composing/improvising in these rhythmic modes. 

Experiencing More Freedom and Ease at the Piano   

Many students will bring advanced piano skills to the course and we definitely want to build on those and explore new techniques! Playing the piano is one the most reurologically complex activities one can engage in, and as such it requires rigorous, detailed training of movement so that students can improve skills, play with more ease, and enhance their own musicality. 

Each day students will participate in a series of activities to heighten their awareness of movement at the piano. Instructors will address common misconceptions of piano technique that limit a student's progress and musicality. She will also relate sensory training to her own creative process at the piano and describe how she works with students in the beginning stages of improvising and composing.

How to establish a warm-up routine that heightens sensory awareness

Finding a sitting stance and understanding core support

Mapping and using the whole arm

Identifying further mapping issues specific to each participant 

Applying these lessons to practice: retraining attention for practice and performance

Showcasing our work, identifying resources for further study

The cost for each two-week session with be €1200, which includes classes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and lunch on site.Within that time frame students will have one practice session each day to work on their own. 

Sunset over Hofgarten

Just a 5 to 10-minute walk from 

our course location!