Have you noticed that there aren’t many online resources for helping our students with technique or even helping us teachers to learn proper piano technique? Well, I’m thrilled to tell you that an online resource is now available and it’s top-notch!

Do you know what a “quiet hand” is? Did you know that a”quiet hand” is fundamental to preventing injury and facilitating anything from easy to the most complicated piano technique? Do you teach your students about “the throw” or “vibrato technique” for piano technique? These are just a few of the things I learned about as I had access to this amazing resource taught by the very friendly Fred Karpoff, who is a Steinway artist that currently serves on faculty at Syracuse University.

Fred has created what you might have formerly known as the 3-D Piano Technique, but is now a revolutionary, professional online resource for students and teachers called Entrada.

Giveaway: We are giving away not one, but three 6-month, full-access subscriptions to Entrada!

Special offer: Sign up here for 2 months of Entrada and get 1 month free (expires 8/3/15). Enter the giveaway AND sign up if you are interested because if you are one of the three prizewinners, you’ll be refunded your membership fee and your membership will be extended.

NOTE: This giveaway has expired!


Interview on Piano Technique and Entrada with Fred Karpoff

This summer, I asked Fred some questions about piano technique and this new approach. Fred also invited his co-producer, award-winning documentary filmmaker Richard Breyer to comment as well. I began by asking them to tell us what Entrada is:

FK: Entrada offers a unique approach to integrating online video modules into lessons and practice sessions. It features hundreds of mini-lessons, repertoire tutorials, and live webinars to support teachers in the studio and classroom.

RB: In a way, Entrada is a partnership between the teacher and Fred. Whether the teacher is working with an individual student or in a class setting, Fred is there to support him or her. A teacher might show one or two modules during a lesson. Then, after the lesson is over, Entrada is a digital textbook–something the teacher can assign, and something students can view and practice with on their own. Teachers can create playlists for each student, and also monitor students’ progress.

FK:  With Entrada, teachers can:
  • Access an extensive library of over 300 video modules 
  • Connect with their students within Entrada
  • Create video playlists for assignments or personal study
  • Sponsor students in the sign-up process 
  • Track student progress with viewing data
  • Participate in monthly webinars taught by Fred Karpoff
  • Sign up for a 5-day free trial, with no credit card required

Why did you create the 3-D Piano Technique?

FK: On the one hand, I’m not sure I’ve ‘created’ anything totally new. Most of 3-D Piano is somehow derived from my teachers—Ann Schein, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Robert Weirich, and Leon Fleisher; advanced lessons with Karl-Ulrich Schnabel, Richard Goode, Julian Martin, and Jeff Kahane; senior colleagues such as Nelita True and Barbara Lister-Sink, and numerous other teachers of past generations, including Sandor, Whiteside, Taubman, Lhevinne, Matthay, and others.

On the other hand, what I’ve termed “three-dimensional technique” is a synthesis of my own experience. I developed a systematic way of playing and teaching out of necessity, after a vocational injury in graduate school. So I’ve combined insights gleaned from the experts I just named with study of the Feldenkrais Method®, Tai Chi, and the Alexander Technique. Of course, my students and my own performance experience continue to inform my work. Experimenting with all of these factors led to codifying my own method.

What is unique about it?

entrada4RB: As far as I know 3-D Piano and Entrada are the only teaching series that combine the documentary approach — observing a master teacher working with his students — with one-on-one instructions or tutorials directed at viewer. For example we see Fred working with one of his advanced students on Arpeggios. The initial sequence is without voice-over, documentary style. In the second sequence we observe the student’s progress in slow motion as Fred describes the pedagogical approach he used with this student. If the viewer is a student, she empathizes with the student and learns arpeggios. If the viewer is a teacher, the scene is a teacher training exercise. She learns how to better teach arpeggios.

We received very gratifying feedback from teachers who tell us how Entrada has helped them and their students overcome injuries while improving the quality of their music.

I’ll be honest, sitting in a workshop learning about technique, though useful, can put me to sleep. Will your videos put me to sleep?

FK: Entrada is self-directed. By that I mean the viewer is in the driver’s seat. The sequences in the Entrada library are listed in menus that the viewer selects.

entrada3RB: This point about attention spans is the reason we designed Entrada into very short modules—usually less than a minute. So the viewer is active, not passive. The viewer decides when to watch and review a module. If a module or a sequence in Entrada doesn’t catch the viewer’s interest or serve the viewer’s needs, the viewer moves on to the next sequence or module.

Why the name Entrada?

FK: [Laughs.] When we began working on together I was convinced I had the ideal name of the series. I thought that “3-D Piano” conveyed the idea of three-dimensional movement, which is at the core of my life’s work.

RB: But although it connected with some teachers, it had others thinking that you had to wear funny glasses to use it, or it was a video game.

FK: “Entrada” emerged, as we believe and hope, an appropriate and musical-sounding alternative, capturing our mission to provide a comprehensive entry into the world of piano-playing—not just through a systematic method of acquiring effortless piano technique, but also integrating musical conception and meaning at every stage.

Would you give us 2 useful technique tips that teachers could use right away in their teaching?

FK: Two of the simplest concepts—that go hand in hand–include The Quiet Hand and Continuous Alignment. The Quiet Hand describes when one or more fingers are engaged with the keys, each other finger rests ‘quietly’ on the top surface of the keys—with the fingers aligned in front of the tendons that support them, in the forearm. Or, in the case of the thumb—allow it to rest off of the key surface if that is the optimal position for its alignment. These are two foundational principles that are essential to optimal coordination at all levels of piano technique. They’re covered at the very beginning of the series and reinforced repeatedly in Entrada.

The Quiet Hand:


What happens in your webinars?

FK: Each month we hold a one-hour webinar featuring standard music from the teaching repertoire, chosen from Entrada members’ requests. So far, the selections have been mostly intermediate repertoire by composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, but has also featured easier and more advanced works as well. My tutorials focus on the music, while demonstrating how to execute passages—particularly those with challenging arpeggios, trills, tremolos, octaves, repeated chords, scales, pedaling, accompanimental figures, articulations, or any other salient feature of piano-playing and music-making.

RB: Members at the Advanced Level can sign up to attend live, or those who are unable to attend the broadcast can access it about a week later, when it is archived for two months at the website.

What made you decide to create this, and how does the Entrada online program work?

FK: Many of our 3-D Piano Method teachers asked us to create something that could support their work with students between lessons. They requested shorter, manageable, video ‘bits’ (instead of DVDs) that could provide teacher modeling and reinforce concepts during home practice sessions. So we created Entrada, offered via monthly subscription, with hundreds of short technique and master-class videos forming the core library.

How do I sign up?

RB: At our website, Entradapiano.com, we offer a 5-day free trial that allows users access to a wide range of the video content and features. Or to sign up, click on Become a Member. We offer two levels, Basic and Plus. Each contains a library of short technique and master-class videos—over 150 for Basic, and over 300 for Plus.

Most teachers join Entrada Plus, not only for its more comprehensive pedagogy, but also because it includes monthly webinars where Fred applies Entrada principles to standard repertoire and addresses members’ questions. Teachers of ANY level of student can get the special offer to ComposeCreate subscribers, at the Plus level.

Here’s a sample of how Entrada works:

Fred Karpoff
Fred KarpoffArtistic Producer of Entrada Piano Technique
Fred Karpoff is a winner of the Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award and Professor of Piano at Syracuse University. He is artistic producer of The 3-D Piano Method, a whole-body approach to piano playing and teaching used in over thirty countries worldwide, and its online successor, Entrada Piano Technique. Fred is a former USIA Artistic Ambassador and has performed as pianist on four continents. He presents workshops and master classes throughout North America.
Richard Breyer
Richard BreyerAward-winning Documentarian
Richard Breyer is an award winning documentarian. His recent film, GARWIN was a recipient of the Accolade Humantarian Award. A full list of his films and awards are at wandbproductions.com. In addition to his work with The 3-D Piano Method and Entrada Piano Technique, Breyer is co-director of Syracuse University’s Documentary Film and History Program. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to India twice.