Piano playing can be the ultimate expression of your passion, energy and personality. –– Or, it can be accompanied by physical stress, discomfort and long, tedious practice hours.

The difference is in the approach. The Functional Piano Training method lets you master this rewarding instrument with confidence and joy.



A great performance takes the performer and the audience on a journey. Rather than providing a prefabricated experience like a movie, the artist shapes and creates a unique moment each time he or she sits down to play. Being the director and actor simultaneously of a musical story requires the clarity of vision and the skills to translate the musical idea into reality.

As with any sport such as skiing or kitesurfing, the dangers of improper technique can outweigh the short-lived joy of being in control. Thousands of pianists "muscle" through pieces, often accompanied by physical discomfort, pain and even injuries. Functional Piano Training lets you avoid all that and experience music the way it should be experienced - as a life-enriching adventure that outperforms any pleasure you can buy by allowing your core creativity to manifest itself.








Background

The Functional Piano Technique does not break any new ground - it teaches the student to find that seemingly elusive ground that many great performers have walked on.

For more than 14 years Tim Lukas performed at various conservatories and music schools in Germany. At the age of 15, he was invited to play the works of Beethoven and Schubert at the Frankfurt University of the Arts. Despite his success with the audience, one question gripped him: Is it possible to experience the thrill of performance without the "necessary" side effects of tension, nervousness and physical discomfort and strain? And what would such an approach look and feel like?

The answer became clear as he witnessed performers like Rubinstein, Richter, Horowitz and Pollini, all displaying a sense of ease, control of the instrument and very apparent complete lack of muscular strain. This freedom from "pushing" the keys is one of the key principles of the Functional Piano Technique that enables the unhindered expression of the musical idea or impulse. As with all things in life, a greater sense of freedom and pleasure leads to faster learning.

The goals of Functional Piano Training are to establish a reliable relationship with sound, aligning the player in an optimal way with his or her instrument. The focus is on building the best possible interaction with the instrument, allowing the player to musically and emotionally excite the audience and communicate with the greatest possible ease. This zero-gravity, low-pressure approach to performance allows for those magical moments when the listener feels touched and moved by a performance.








The Training

Tim works with beginning, intermediate and advanced piano players and is always glad to meet new students.

When learning how to play piano, it is common sense that the more we understand the composer, the style, and the intent of a piece the more we can do with it. What is not as widely known is that no matter what your intent is, not much can be accomplished without a thorough understanding of anatomy (including an acute awareness of your arm and finger weight), the approaches of various techniques and both an intellectual and intuitive understanding of how the mind works.

Functional Piano Training brings, like all great piano methods, an awareness of all performance-related issues to the forefront and leads the diligent practitioner to the mastery and control of the instrument.

Some key points of the method include:

  • understanding and mastery of Instant Release and the Zero Point
  • muscle force versus velocity and its connection to tone quality
  • free versus inefficient forms of playing
  • distinguishing what supports and what hinders the communication of emotion
  • inner alertness and vitality versus force
  • the magical release - a requirement for stamina
  • musical structure and form
  • the illusion of a string instrument at the piano
  • the psychology of a successful practice ethic
  • time and motivation management
  • visualization, focus, concentration
  • the direction of internal dialogue and imagery
  • the study of peak performance








The Coach - Tim Lukas

As one of Boston’s hot new record producers, Tim rarely has time to perform anymore. He misses it dearly and plans to get back to it as soon as he gets bored with music production or finds a way to skip sleep. He is currently chief producer / composer for Blink Music, a high-end record production company. A graduate of Germany’s prestigious Tonmeister program in audio engineering, he was invited to Berklee College of Music in Boston as a Fulbright Scholar, graduated with a triple major in Music Production, Piano Performance, and Composition and freelanced in world-class recording facilities before starting Blink Music.

Having experienced the difference between struggling and complete effortlessness at the piano, Tim started teaching in Berlin when he was a student to finance his frequent flights to see his girlfriend. Leaving Berlin, he realized that one of the hardest things to leave behind were his students. It wasn’t until then that he realized that he felt passionate about sharing his experiences at the piano with people who were truly interested in music and the piano in particular. Although he can be a great motivator, Tim prefers to work with students who already know why they want to play the piano.

"There is simply too little time. I could convince nearly everybody that one of the best things they can do for their life is to pick up an instrument and the piano is for me by far the most versatile and satisfying one. But I'm working 5 days a week as a full-time producer and chief engineer at my production company, in addition to overseeing a high-end audio company which also gives me great pleasure - there is nothing like a stereo system disappearing before your eyes and the Berlin Philharmonics or Barbara Bonney standing in its place, right there in the room. "








The Work

Tim only teaches piano lessons one-on-one.

"It’s all about the efficiency of tone refinement and being able to enjoy the results! For example, during the first 15 years of my life I played piano mostly with muscular effort. Studying in masterclasses with renowned concert pianists and piano coaches, I was introduced to the concept of Functional Piano playing. My arms stopped hurting, my back didn’t feel heavy and I actually enjoyed playing the piano - not just on a musical level but also on a physical one. This sense of ease, efficiency and transparency is now also available to artists and piano students I work with. It does interfere here and there with my work as a producer but I wouldn’t give up coaching - no way, it’s too much fun."

"It’s great to be able to do this. In record productions I work often for many months on the same ten tracks. Working with pianists once a week is very refreshing and rewarding. We both immediately hear the results!"

"I myself am an avid athlete, runner, windsurfer and skiier and have worked with several peak-performance coaches on fitness, nutrition and focus. Like the athlete, the musician needs to have a sense of purpose, direction, and energy as well as the ability to move beyond obstacles. And so, handling those aspects has become a part of my coaching as well."


On record production and Functional Piano Training

"I often liken the work of the recording studio to that of an airport: Let's go over the essentials, train your wings and then take off. The musician learns to be in an independent relationship with his or her instrument. She or he has confidence because there is a real relationship with the instrument, one that allows them to perform with freedom and without fear."

"In Berlin, every Tonmeister student is required to study instruments. They are expected to master either the piano or a string or woodwind instrument and to perform at various recitals. In addition, there are two semesters dedicated to studying the construction and history of instruments. I recommend highly that all my colleagues in record production and engineering learn more about instruments. The instrumental performance is the main point of any record, so why is it that engineers learn all about software and compressors but generally don't study the instruments they are supposed to record?"








What Others Are Saying

"Tim is one of the best teachers I had the pleasures of working with in my life."

Tyler Dumont


"I came to Tim with serious issues - my time wasn’t stable, my fingers were racing Chopin Etudes. No other teacher before him pointed out that I was not breathing, clenched my jaw and tightened my shoulders. Once we worked on those issues, my playing improved drastically. Playing the piano now is a much more pleasant experience than it has been before in my life."
Robert Reis


"Tim’s a killer coach. I worked with him on both voice and piano. He’s on target, fast to recognize a student’s main stumbling blocks and he removes them diligently. Though he can be tough, it’s all for the better and I’m very pleased with the results."
Fay Gauthier












129 Franklin Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
phone. 617.225.0044 fax. 617.225.0999
Email Tim at info@blinkmusic.com

Directions

Blink High End is located at 129 Franklin Street in Cambridge, MA, 02139 in the historic "Kennedy Biscuit Lofts" building. We are between MIT and Central Square, very close to the Middle East and TT the Bear’s nightclubs. We are only 10 minutes by car from the Back Bay. The studio is quite easy to find but please call if you get lost (617-225-0044) or email in advance if it is still unclear where we are.

Parking

For visits under 30 minutes you can park in the courtyard in front of our building. To get to the courtyard, drive down Sidney Street and take the third right onto a little side street (it sneaks up on you after the park, between two large brick buildings). Take an immediate right onto Brookline Place and drive to the end – straight ahead and you’ll see a large brick historic-looking building. This is where we are. Pull into the courtyard and parallel park. For visits over 30 minutes please follow the directions above to get to us; when you arrive we will give you access to free on street visitor parking. Or, if you prefer a garage, follow the direction above down Sidney Street, and when you take that right onto the side street you will see a large parking garage on the left (before Brookline Place).