The 3-D Piano Method is a 6-DVD series on piano teaching and playing, produced by artist-teacher Fred Karpoff. With 280 minutes of video and an elegant 84-page workbook to guide the review process, the total experience for the viewer normally ranges from 2 to 12 months.
Teachers and pianists the world over are reporting significant improvement in technical and musical achievement, including better coordination and execution of arpeggios, scales, trills, tremolos, octaves, repeated chords, pedaling, rhythm, and more.
Over 75 pianistic elements are covered in the series and are detailed in the study guide.
The 3-D Piano Method describes the graceful, efficient usage of the whole body to play the piano in three-dimensions, as opposed to faulty tenets such as "making all the fingers the same length," "thumb-under" scales, "high" fingers, and using opposable muscles simultaneously, with curled fingers.
In The 3-D Piano Method, these are replaced with concepts such as the Quiet Hand, Rotational Mobility of the Hips, Continuous Alignment Adjustments in three-dimensions (up-down, in-out, and lateral), the Throw, the Vibrato Technique (essential for playing repeated chords, octaves, and tremolos), Three-Dimensional Shaping, and Released Fingers.
After a vocational injury twenty years ago, Fred Karpoff began an overhaul of his piano technique, guided by Dr. Yoheved Kaplinsky. Following his study of the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais® Method, he integrated these whole-body modalities with new insights on piano playing, and the concept of The 3-D Piano Method evolved.
Together with award-winning documentary producer, Richard Breyer (Freedom's Call, North of 49, Dancing on Mother Earth) Karpoff has realized his vision of conveying these ideas in a cutting-edge video format.
Throughout, Karpoff and Breyer have espoused the maxim, "'Let me show you' is always better than 'Let me tell you.'"
The first three units provide basic but vital information for pianists of all levels, and lay the groundwork for the more advanced concepts in the units that follow:
Unit 1: Foundations
Balanced Sitting Position
Rotational Mobility of the Hips
Bench Height and Distance from the Keyboard
Levers and Joints
The Point of Sound
The Quiet Hand
Common Hand Positions
Unit 2: Three-Dimensional Movement
The Basic Three-Dimensional Form on Five Notes
The Basic 3-D Form in Hanon Exercises
Unit 3: Chord Ensemble and Sound Quality
Unit 4: Arpeggios One-Octave Arpeggios
Isolating the Throw in Two-Octave Arpeggios
Putting It All Together
Unit 5: The Vibrato Technique
The Basic Vibrato Motion
Repeated Notes and Chords
Unit 6: Trills
Trills Through Five Notes
Trills: More Than Five Notes
Unit 7: Scales
The Fallacy of Thumb-Under
Natural Hand Position
The Quiet Hand in Scale Playing
Continuous Alignment Adjustments
The Throw vs. Thumb-Under
Vertical Adjustment Motions
Coordinating the Turnaround
Playing Scales in Ensemble
Speed and Evenness: Additional Exercises
Practicing with Different Rhythms
Practicing with Accents
Practicing for Speed Using the Metronome
Unit 8: Pedaling
Partial Pedaling: quarter, half, three-quarter
Pedaling Before the Attack
The Staccato Pedal
Unit 9: Rhythm and Artistry
Chopin: Ballade in A-Flat, Op. 47
Brahms: Sonata in C, Op. 1
Benshoof: Prelude No. 1 from 24 Preludes (2003)
Berg: Piano Sonata, Op. 1
The 3-D Piano Method is the first instructional video series of its size and scope conceived for DVD and shot in high-definition ["HD"]. Personnel include 12 students in live, unscripted lessons with Fred Karpoff, at various stages of development.
Also featured are several musicians demonstrating whole-body usage or collaborating with Karpoff in performance, and a master Alexander Technique teacher in a lesson demonstration. The beautiful study guide features musical examples and photos from the film to direct the viewer’s experience when working with the material.
There are abundant musical examples, including many performances by Karpoff of the standard repertoire. Throughout, the emphasis is on integrating the knowledge of how to play effortlessly with a musical conception of sound and phrasing.
The format for most units is the interactive lessons, edited down to shorter segments (usually ranging from 2-4 minutes) followed by instructional reviews. It is expected that you will watch a lesson and a review and then pause the video so you can perform and experiment with the various motions, techniques, and musical ideas being described.
The DVD format is especially friendly for reviewing whatever segment you want to, as much as needed or desired.