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I created a unique system for learning both arm & finger technique at the piano

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Stop endless repetitions at the piano and use strategy instead to make greater results

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The next step is to put piano technique into practice and make great music

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Work with me to bring your piano playing to the next level

Inspiration | Unique Online Piano Courses | Essential Piano Techniques

About Piano Fantasy

Here at Piano Fantasy, I dive into the fantastic world of outstanding piano music, offering free inspiration through our blogs and videos. For you who wish to go deeper and bring your piano playing to another level, I offer online piano courses teaching the ins and outs of piano technique and music making at the piano.

Fantasy implies the creativity that is expressed through music and, no less important, the imagination in learning. Imagination in learning music and the technique involved makes your learning process so much more effective when you follow at the same time the right method. Fantasy has a direct impact on the way you perceive and play music.

Learn with me here at Piano Fantasy and let your piano “Super Powers” be unleashed, and music will flow from your fingers.

Lars nelissen in paris café la palette

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Goals Piano Fantasy has in mind for you

Hi, I'm Lars Nelissen

My Piano Story

My name is Lars Nelissen (Lars Nelissen van Gasselt, the long version), and I am the founder of Piano Fantasy. Let me tell you my story.

As a child, I loved being creative in drawing and painting. I grew up in a fisherman’s family, and being outside in the countryside where I grew up near the water was most common for me. I used to collect little bugs and fish and kept them to investigate. Everyone said I’d become a biologist or something in that direction. No one in my family played music, yet we listened to music of course. Lars nelissen child at christmas tree

When I was about twelve years old, I asked to learn the piano, but my parents didn’t take it seriously. At the time, I was a fan of Queen, and I wanted to play piano like Freddie Mercury. For two years, I kept asking until my parents bought me a keyboard and took me to keyboard lessons. 

But the keyboard didn’t do it for me; I was drawn to the piano. So every Saturday after the lesson I played the piano in the piano shop underneath the music school. About a year later, my father bought me a real piano at last, and I started piano lessons with the local piano teacher. I was 15 years old by the time. 

Already embarked on your road of piano success!

"He goes in great depth giving lots of joy in playing"
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Yvette Vosbeek
Piano Student
"With Lars I started really learn to play the piano!"
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Bas Peters
Piano Student

And What About Paderewski...

Mostly, you hear when you ask a professional musician when he or she started to play an instrument for the first time at a very young age. And many teachers like to keep alive the idea that it is impossible to make it to a professional level if one does not start to learn seriously at a very young age. Ignacy jan paderewski caricature
This discourages so many people from even starting to learn piano at all. Indeed, there is an advantage, but I am a living example that many outcomes become possible with desire, imagination, and hard work combined.

And I’m not the only example. The most famous example is Ignacy Jan Paderewski. He got his first piano lesson at age 12 and didn’t start to work seriously before age 24 when he studied with Leschetizky. He was a controversial man who later became the first president of Poland and, at age 76, made his debut as a Hollywood movie star. Again, with imagination, desire, and intelligent work, the sky is the limit.

Intelligent work needs a method, and I am here to share with you this method that made me succeed in my goals and that I still use today.

My First Piano Teacher

Lars nelissen at the liszt academy Thus, when I was fifteen, I started to take lessons with the local piano teacher, John Timmermans. He was an excellent musician, but his professional background was saxophone and big band conducting. He studied piano as a minor and had his limits. I owe him my love for both classical and jazz. I learned with him Kabalevsky, Satie, Debussy, Clementi, and Beethoven.

We worked through most of Czerny’s opus 299 and the complete Hanon exercises, Bach’s two-voice inventions, many sonatinas, and little pieces, including Reverie by Debussy. After less than two years, he admittedly told me he couldn’t teach me more and that we had to look for a new teacher. Yet he continued to teach me music theory and ear training. He passed away a few years ago.

I Wanted to be a Professional

At sixteen, I became a fanatic of classical music and made my decision to become a professional pianist. And with my first teacher, we visited the open day of the conservatory where I first met Avi Schönfeld. I was so impressed by his students’ playing during the class performance.

Schönfeld studied piano with Arthur Rubinstein, Vlado Perlemuter, Yvonne Lèfebure, Ilona Vinzce-Krausz, and composition with Alexander Tansman and Nadia Boulanger, a list of impressive names.

He was teaching a method combining good fingers and flexible arm movements, resulting in a great-sounding piano with all possible sound colors. I wanted to learn to play like that, and in Avi Schönfeld, I could find all that knowledge in one teacher.

After playing for him, he recognized that I had talent and a desire to play and challenged me. He recommended me to study with Peter Simons,a former pupil of his in a nearby city where I live, and come back to him after two years and play for him again. That was precisely what I did…

Lars nelissen and avi schönfeld after piano lesson

Lessons with Peter Simons

Lars nelissen at the mozarteum in salzburg

During these two years of lessons with Peter Simons, I learned a method of piano playing as it is taught in the great conservatories. ‘Everything is connected’ holds unquestionably true in piano technique. The musical expression goes hand in hand with technical understanding. Arm and fingers are never separate and should be connected at any time.

We started with some of Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte and Chopin’s Nocturne No. 11 and some Mozart, Bach’s Wohltemperiertes Klavier, and Czerny. Later he added some Moszkowski etudes op. 72. For the entrance examination, I learned Rachmaninov’s Polichinelle, Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu, Mozart’s sonata in F-major KV 332, some Scriabin preludes, a prelude and fugue of Bach, Moszkowski and Chopin’s last etude, opus 25 no. 12 in c-minor.

We are two years later, and I again visited the open house at the conservatory and played Rachmaninov’s Polichinelle and the last movement of Mozart’s sonata KV 332 for Schönfeld. He was impressed and told his class “Here is a very great talent” and he told me I should do my entrance examination a few months later and he would take me as his student. At that same time, I also joined my first piano competition, the Prinses Christina Competition in the Netherlands.

Teenager lars nelissen in salzburg at the mozarteum

Passion & Discipline

I was passionate about learning new things on the piano and was very disciplined to practice. This discipline is a choice made naturally every day to not miss out on my time so precious.

Practice isn’t always easy, but the desire to learn made it, so I didn’t feel my day complete without practicing all the pieces I was working on. This includes the technical stuff.

Play Video about Rachmaninov c#prelude thumbnail small

I was passionate about learning new things on the piano and was very disciplined to practice. This discipline is a choice made naturally every day to not miss out on my time so precious.

Practice isn’t always easy, but the desire to learn made it, so I didn’t feel my day complete without practicing all the pieces I was working on. This includes the technical stuff.

At the same time, I had to attend like every teenager in High school with all the homework that came with it. But this didn’t stop me from practicing. It just made me very clever in my time. Mostly, I made sure all my homework from school was finished before I even left the building. When I got home, I jumped behind the piano and felt I was doing something purposeful. I even picked up a second instrument, the flute, because I was wrongly told I needed a second instrument to pass the entrance examination.

Music never stopped at the piano. I absorbed books about composers and music history. And I listened to a lot of classical music. I had no internet yet, so I bought many CDs with my pocket money.

I was always searching for something to bring to the music that I played. It could be an atmosphere from a book or a movie I watched. It could be something from nature that I wanted to paint through sound.

The colors of the sound were always on my mind, more than just notes. Music is, for me, painting with sound colors that are organized in time on the canvas of silence.

Discipline comes with the desire to reach for something you are passionate about. That doesn’t always make it easy, but it becomes sustainable over time. It doesn’t take too much effort to go to the piano and start practice exercises, knowing how my fingers feel so much better after that.

Be interested in other things like books, listening to music, music theory, other arts, science, and nature. You name it what interests you… These interests can be very inspiring and will give you something to express in music. It breaks the pattern that opens up the mind for learning.

Avi schönfeld pianist and composer

“Lars has been a student in my piano class at the conservatory for several years. I highly appreciate his musicality, artistic qualities and imagination. His creativity gives me the feeling he’ll be an excellent teacher, therefore I recommend him warmly.”


Conservatory Years

For seven years, I studied with Avi Schönfeld. I learned all the ins and outs of piano technique and music-making. He was a genius piano teacher. There was literally no problem in piano playing that he couldn’t find an innovative solution for. He demonstrated everything and played like a grand master who didn’t underdo for an Emil Gilels or a Pollini.

In my first year, I became very interested in choir music. Particularly renaissance music, Russian choir music of Rachmaninov, and my favorite, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom by Tchaikovsky. So I decided to study choir conducting next to my piano studies, where I also learned all about the Gregorian Chant, which I have conducted up to today.

My lessons with Schönfeld went very well, and I always looked forward to the next lesson. He always came up with intriguing fingerings combined with particular arm movements and different forms of the hands. All technique is rooted in a deep musical understanding. Passages were broken down into logical divisions to play them brilliantly and smoothly.

He astounded everyone when sight-reading any music while simultaneously explaining the technique and pointing out the music in all its colors and meanings. At this time, I became totally captivated by Alexander Scriabin, a fascination that lasts today.

During that time, I also followed Masterclasses with Tellef Juva, Jean-Marie Cottet, Dominique Merlet, and Evgeny Moguilevsky.

My interest in poetry and philosophy grew, so I started to write myself. Poems, philosophy, and essays on quantum physics I wrote for pleasure. This interest is still there, and I read new things every day.

Also, I did some not serious composing throughout my piano career from the moment I started to learn music. But now, a desire to express myself in composition is tickling me more and more. One of my recent compositions, “Distance” leaves me quite satisfied. Here at Piano Fantasy, I’ll release my compositions in time. So don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter and be informed about the latest updates.


Soaring the heavens like eagles do,
Breathing that wondrous air above clouds,
There is you! Magical star!
Magnificent light above the heavens.

Shadows left behind,
Fire took reign.

As in a womb of a new humanity,
Quivering light and dancing wind,
A new color of thought took place,
Born I was once more!


Lars Nelissen, Japan, August 2013

Leaving the Country

My interest in the East has tickled me for many years. As a child, it was triggered by my interest in martial arts. When I started to explore philosophy, I read many books on Eastern philosophies. I hooked up with a Chinese girlfriend at the conservatory, and after my graduation, I moved to Wuhan, China.

From 2006 until 2009, I stayed in China. I worked there as a piano teacher, teaching both children and older teenagers studying at Wuhan Conservatory. I loved the great enthusiasm of the Chinese for the art of music. A genuine learning attitude is a great thing that many Chinese parents impose on their kids, which is very different from the West. I love to teach in China.

In 2010, I visited Japan for the first time. A new world opened up for me, with its similarities and cultural roots from China, yet very different are the two. In February 2012, my first son Alan, who is half-Japanese, was born.

In the summer of 2013, I went to Japan for the 3rd time to join a piano competition. I became a finalist in the second and last competition I have ever joined, the Yokohama International Piano Competition.

In 2016, I made my first Russia trip with my focus on my favorite composer, Alexander Scriabin. I went first to Pyatigorsk, where the Scriabin family spent many summers. Then, I ended my journey in Moscow, where I visited the Scriabin house and listened to a performance of Poem de l’Extase (The Poem of Ecstasy) in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre.

I went to Russia and Japan many times, both for personal and professional reasons. In 2017, I explored a new part of the East, Uzbekistan, the bridge between China and the Western world. Ancient Persia started the early Silk Route.

In Uzbekistan, I met my wife, Zumi Rash, with whom I got my second son, Vicktor, in December 2021.

I started to teach piano when I was still a student at the conservatory. After almost twenty years of teaching experience, I have determined that I can help many of you who want to learn music. And I decided to create Piano Fantasy to reach out to you in many different parts of the world.

Manifesto Piano Fantasy

We want to be capable of learning and playing the music we love the way we want. For this, we need to develop control of the piano for good performance so we and others can enjoy listening to it. At Piano Fantasy, we dive into the ways to make practice more effective.

Forget about talent for a second, and let’s look into what actually matters most. What is talent anyway? The way talent is often explained makes it an excuse not to do the work for some. Consequently, the word talent has become the biggest lie in learning art. Talent is not an excuse to not practice as extensively, but talent is an accountability for working even more seriously.

The term talent is often misused by undisciplined students and mediocre teachers as an excuse for bad results. What many of those so-called teachers often lack are the deep strategies and principles of learning piano technique. Instead, they give you some rubbish advice and tell you it is all about talent to achieve excellence. I don’t believe that.

As each person may experience the world differently, each learner will have different strengths in their learning depending on personality, experience, knowledge, and temperament. Studies have shown that talent and intelligence can be developed like a muscle; it isn’t fixed. Yet, there are educators out there claiming it is all about talent, giving some useless suggestions, and never teaching the system of piano playing.

Meet My Family

Vicktor nelissen at the piano
Lars nelissen family photo
Alan and vicktor at the piano
Lars nelissen piano reflections