Berlin, Germany

©2019 BY PIANOPHYSIOLOGY. 

Pianist and pianoteacher Vasilis Rakitzis, 34

Specially interested in the performance of solo and chamber music repertoire from the Baroque

era until the late twentieth-century and particularly passionate about the works of Austro-German and

French composers of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century. He's a very dedicated teacher who enjoys

working with young kids, teenagers and adults.

Graduate of City University London, (DMA, 2015), the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (MMus, 2008), the Royal Academy of Music (PGDip, 2006), and the Conservatory of Athens (Piano Diploma, 2003).

"I really liked Mr Boullet's professionalism which was perfectly combined with an extremely

friendly and encouraging approach in our sessions. His profound knowledge on the

physiology of piano technique along with his will and ability to adjust to an individual's

needs and strengths made my classes with him hugely helpful and valuable. I learnt a

lot about how to reconsider my technical approach on the piano in relation to the

limitations I may experience."

"I was having some serious technical problems which caused constant pain and exhaustion in my muscles, so I tried different methods with various piano instructors, but it was not getting any relief as I was not improving. I was suffering from tennis elbow for a few months so I went to see Dr.Eckart Altenmüller and then he introduced me to Laurent Boullet. Before beginning the lessons, I was hoping he could help me improve and teach me some techniques so I would be able to play the piano smoothly and without spasm in my hand. When the classes started the process made me very hopeful. I could imagine a perfect future for myself because I was improving. Besides the piano I learned a lot from him because of his impressive personality and his unique way of teaching. He made me fall in love with playing and teaching form a very different aspect. I think I was at a point in which I would have stopped playing if I had not collaborated with Laurent Boullet . I was disappointed because I got stuck in a place where there was no progress, no improvement.  But after a year passing by I can clearly feel my improvement. My repertoire and my way of playing is

on a higher level now. I have improved a lot in my university professors’ view as well. I feel very confident and have a great desire to play as I almost never have the pain and spasm in my muscles anymore."   

Faraz Forouzandeh, 24.

Third year student of music education/ Classical music performance at Bremen University of Art.

                                       Having started the piano quite late, at 14, I worked a lot and progressed without paying                                                        attention to my technique or my physical sensations. I realized that, at a certain point I had                                                      to be interested in how the body works, how we work, and that it was necessary to                                                            reduce muscle tension. However, I was not sure I had the courage and the patience to                                                          start this tedious work. And I was afraid to get away from the music doing this job. My                                                      teacher at Conservatoire de Lyon encouraged me to meet Mr. Boullet. Before I started I                                                     hoped to understand a little better what my technical strengths and weaknesses were.                                                        Also, to be able to understand why I could not do certain things as I could not find                                                          where the problems were. I was initially a little destabilized by the process. It's a                                                          completely different method of operation. However, I liked to learn to listen to the body and                                          the sensations that we can have in the hand, but also in the forearm, the arm ... Mr Boullet is extremely patient and teaches us how to be with ourselves. Everything is based on the needs of the sheet music, nothing is superfluous. I think that if I had not collaborated with Laurent Boullet my tensions could have been aggravated until I stopped playing correctly. I would never have understood the right way to use the arm and forearm. By dint of time and work, I got amazing results. I feel much freer physically and this allows me to be more effective musically. It allowed me to have more and more confidence in myself. I mount the pieces much faster, knowing which gestures to use according to the writing. Thus, music and "technique" are much more connected than I imagined. I owe a lot to Laurent Boullet.

Louis-Victor, 21. 1st year Bachelor at the Haute Ecole de Musique of Lausanne.

I started taking lessons with Laurent Boullet at a point where I almost couldn’t play for half a year due to piano related injuries in my wrist and arm. A fellow student at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus recommended me to take lessons with him, and soon I began travelling to Berlin regularly for two and a half years. I soon realized how rare it was to have found a teacher that possesses an enormous knowledge and experience in both piano playing and physiology. Today I can say, his technical and physiological guidance has been an indispensable supplement to my studies at the academy, and I am not sure, if I would have made it through my bachelor studies without it. The lessons helped me to avoid tension and pain in my playing and I have learned how to avoid physical problems. Moreover, I have become much more aware of which movements and touch to use when and where in order to achieve a certain timbre in sound. From the beginning, I expected to learn about muscles, joints, nerve signals and the way our body and brain functions in relation to piano playing. But I soon learned the lessons weren’t only focusing on technique and physiology. In Laurent Boullets teaching the physiological concepts are always brought into a musical context. I learned to use the knowledge about movements not only to play in a healthy and pain-free way, but also to improve the musical quality of my playing and making the work speak stronger.

It has been a big inspiration for me to have a piano teacher, that is totally up to date with the newest research within physiology and neurology, and who knows how to use this insight to improve our capacity as pianists to make music. 

Lea Heining, 22, Studying medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark. Former piano student at the Royal Academy of Music Aarhus, Denmark

I started to show symptoms of chronic pain syndrome spring 2014. Nobody seemed to be able to help me, so I posted a request on Facebook, if anyone knew of a teacher that helped injured musicians. Two people mentioned Laurent, and I contacted him right away.

Before beginning lesson, i was hoping, that it could help me get rid of my pain syndrome, so I would be able to play again, finish my studies and get a job at some point.

During the process with Laurent, I was thinking a lot of things: Who was I, if I couldn’t be a musician anymore?

When would the pain go away? Could I finish my master degree, would I even be able to work as a musician in the future and so on. But I actually just trusted Laurent on his advises, since I had nothing to loose. He recognized all my symptoms, and he seemed from the beginning to have a plan for me, which gave we me new hope. I particularly like the physiological aspect – it revolutionized my way of thinking technique and music. 

To be honest, I almost don’t even dare to think about, what I would have done without his help. Mentally, I was going down in a black hole, since my whole life was concentrated about music. I wouldn’t be, where I am today, if I hadn’t met Laurent - that’s for sure!

Since I started the sessions with Laurent, I got a half time job as an organist, I got the highest mark for my master concert exam, I entered the soloist class, I now teach young students in organ and so much more positive things have happened. My technique is way better, which means I play better, since the technique makes it easier to express myself.

But perhaps the most importing point actually is:

The process! It took me a bit of time to understand, that I shouldn’t focus on when the pain would go away, but on the process. Laurent helped me a lot mentally, since it’s not the pain, that is worse, it’s what it does to you mentally.

 

Louise Boll, 26, Organist, study at the Soloistclass at the Royal Danish Music Academy in Aarhus, Denmark.

Besides that, she work as an organist, teaches and play concerts.

Laurent Boullet is always respectful in his work with the musicians coming to him. He takes pride in knowing and explaining his work down to the smallest detail. If you have any technical work or are you interested in diving deep into Baroque style or Chopin style (playing in the style of Chopin), I would highly recommend Laurent Boullet as supervisor. 

 Cæcilie Tagmose 30, freelance pianist and former student at Laurent Boullet

I was having lessons with Laurent Boullet in the last year of my Bachelor at Hfmt Hamburg. A colleague of mine recommended Mr. Boullet, I was searching for systematic work on piano technique, that is based on facts instead of windy esoteric words. I was hoping to get to know how the hands, shoulder and the whole body work in many selected aspects and their relations, to improve a differentiated use of them, as possible self-acting, to improve playing and rehearsing effectively. Immediately trying spontaneous creative ideas while working with singers was also one of my ambitions. The individual work with Mr. Boullet always followed personal needs and was quite successful at the end. I guess, a lot of parts still would have cost me a lot of more time while practising, had I not worked with Mr. Boullet.

Anna Köbrich, 26, Essen, Folkwang Universität der Künste

I went to see Laurent Boullet December 2013, while preparing the entrance examination for a Bachelor of piano, and my DEM in Conservatoire of Lyon. At that time, I was experiencing, in both hands, many problems of fatigue and pain, and a lack of control of gestures, which was becoming very incapacitating for my preparation. 

Laurent Boullet detected no serious pathological condition, but I seemed to have a chronic pain syndrome, due to very intense practice under high pressure. 

I decided to take one complete year without any exam or public performance, to reduce the pressure which was disturbing my practice, and to work with him on a safer and more efficient pianistic technique. I kept working with my teacher in Lyon, just temporarily avoiding anything exaggerated difficulty.

I had a great motivation to succeed in this work, because to recover my technical level and to be able to play freely again was very important to me, so I have been very dedicated and focused. It has not always been easy, because I had to learn to be very patient, since the first results could take some time to appear, and also because this kind of practice was quite unusual to me.

But the rewards went beyond all my expectations. I was hoping to recover, but that is not exactly what happened:

I was learning a new way to play the piano. I used to consider a moderate pain as “normal” and as a sign of hard work, but it soon disappeared totally, and I understood that pain is absolutely not necessary in the practice of piano. Besides, some works or technical figures, which I thought weren't achievable for me, became easy, and in any case I got able to either quickly achieve them, or to quickly know why it wasn’t working. I have also acquired a greater general precision in my playing. Another thing that I wasn’t expecting, is that my sound became significantly different; fuller, more round and much less abrupt in the accentuations.

The process was very long, though, and I still experience once or twice a feeling of “recidivism” when I thought my problems seemed to have come again for several weeks. But each time, that turned out to be false warnings. Since the beginning of my work with Laurent Boullet in 2014, I finally got my DEM with the best grade in 2015, and soon after that I succeeded in the first round of entrance examination in Hochschule für Musik in Berlin.

To me, the greatest gain that I got from this, is this new feeling of security and autonomy, and a greater ability to render musical effects, thanks to a more precise technique and less preoccupation about technical problems.

I still occasionally work with Laurent Boullet for his physiological and musical advice.

Sarah-May Francis, student at HfM Berlin Hanns Eisler.

European Piano Teachers Association ,EPTA Denmark, has now during the last ten years had the pleasure of having courses, lectures and master classes with professor Laurent Boullet.

It has been deeply interesting and breathtaking sessions which have helped the pianists and piano teachers, who participated, to a new approach to their playing. Prof. Boullet often started with a lecture on specific  problems concerning arm, hand and finger function and explaining his methods of dealing with tensions etc. After about two hours concentrated and inspiring lecture, we got demonstrations on students and later individual lessons .The response from the participants has been so convincing and overwhelming, and many have followed up by consulting him in Berlin.

EPTA Denmark will certainly invite the professor soon again.

Elsebeth Brodersen, Founder of EPTA Denmark.