As a professional performer, and music graduate, the lessons I took with Sonya were an invaluable post-graduate study and professional development. The techniques which we studied have given depth and conviction to my playing, which I could not have found elsewhere. The improvements I have made through Sonya’s influence were pivotal in the success of my subsequent album recordings and live performances.
I am also a trained Alexander Technique teacher and have a deep appreciation of Sonya’s teaching of the Taubman Approach. The principles of this approach, and the manner in which Sonya presents them, are thoroughly complementary with my Alexander Technique training. The Taubman work educates the way a pianist interfaces with the instrument, and as such, it closed the gap between my study of movement through Alexander Technique, and the musical training I had from the Victorian College of the Arts and other piano teachers.
Being a teacher myself, I can say it is something of great worth to come across a teacher whose presentation is as educationally sound as Sonya’s. She attends to fine detail without compromise, and adheres persistently to the principles of her training. Her patience and humour make the task of technique retraining accessible, achievable and enjoyable.
Sonya trained me in skills through which I could achieve a great ease and efficiency in performance. Without reservation, I can say that due to this study, I have access to greater speed, agility, tone, dynamic and precision at the piano. In addition, my study with Sonya has informed my teaching practices considerably. With confidence, I refer my students to her, and have been consistently pleased with the resulting improvements.
It is with pleasure I offer an endorsement of Sonja’s teaching as I am positive those who study with her will find their musical practice enriched.
I began lessons with Sonya during my Honours year of a BMus at Monash University. I had been suffering from chronic wrist pain for four years, and my hands had just about given out. I’d tried every remedy imaginable, but the pain persisted. I also had recurring ganglion cysts growing in both wrists, and my surgeons and physios told me that there was nothing I could do to stop them from coming back. I was facing having to drop out of the university and my course, and give up music indefinitely. Previous teachers either told me that I just needed a break; to practice harder; or that I just wasn’t built for playing the piano.
At the time of my first lesson with Sonya, I couldn’t play a single note without experiencing pain. Through incorporating the Taubman Approach in her teaching, Sonya taught me to use my hands, arms and body in a healthy, co-ordinate way to support my playing, and for the first time in many years, I was able to play without pain! Retraining piano technique is a difficult and demanding process. In addition to having to overcome ingrained habits of more than 20 years, the mental and emotional stress of having to place your passion on hold frequently takes its toll.
Sonya has been incredibly supportive throughout my retraining journey – never once making me feel that my goals weren’t achievable, but simultaneously helping me to maintain the motivation and faith in the process at times where it felt like I would never be able to play the repertoire I loved. Her support and expertise took me from a stage where I could barely play a note without pain, to being able to play repertoire again, and even audition successfully for a Master of Music Therapy degree at Melbourne University.
Sonya has been an amazing support, and without her help, expert knowledge and dedication, I do not think I would be able to play today. I am hugely grateful to her for returning the gift of playing back into my life!
I am an amateur pianist who is passionate about music, with a deep desire to develop my pianistic ability and musicianship as an adult student. I learned from a number of teachers in my younger years, but always ran into seemingly insurmountable limitations with my playing, stopping piano lessons altogether, until I met Sonya in 2012.
Sonya is an outstanding teacher with a deep knowledge of all aspects of making music at the piano including piano technique, musical interpretation and performance preparation. As a gifted performer, Sonya is an inspiring teacher – she really knows how it’s done. Sonya has a deep understanding of the physical elements of piano technique and has an uncanny ability to sense exactly what is going on in someone else’s body at the keyboard!
Sonya is an incomparably dedicated and focused teacher who gives enormous energy and total attention to her students. She has an exceptional ability to use language to explain the subtle and ineffable aspects of musical interpretation, and can also readily explain the physical aspects of touch, tone and associated physical movement required to convey the character and poetic meaning of a passage. Under Sonya’s guidance I have developed far beyond what I ever thought was possible and have left my previous limitations far behind. It is both a pleasure and a privilege to be a student of Sonya’s.
Having graduated in 2014 from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in piano performance with First Class Honours and a University Medal, I have recently moved to Melbourne to pursue further studies with Sonya Lifschitz and to further my career as a freelance pianist and piano teacher.
Sonya has a contagious passion for music. She creates a teaching and learning environment that is supportive, nurturing, and inspiring. Every lesson I have had with Sonya has felt like a total transformation in my approach to music making. She has helped to bring my interpretations to life by deepening my understanding of the structure of music and by unlocking my imagination.
Sonya also has a deep understanding of principles of healthy movement and alignment at the piano, and in only a few lessons, has enabled me to find far greater ease and comfort at the piano. Having recently moved from Brisbane to Melbourne, I am thrilled and excited to be able to have piano lessons with Sonya on a regular basis.