picard stanton institute


about PSI


PSI | Picard Stanton Institute


ANNIE PICARD has twenty years of extensive university teaching experience. SEAN STANTON is an active professional singer and teacher.

Together, Annie and Sean have been passionate practitioners and healers using MZI Informatics Rehabilitation QiGong (IRQ) methods since 2008. They’ve completed three classes at the Master Zhao Institute (MZI) with certificates of distinction: IRQ Beginners in 2008, Advanced Healing in 2010, and Advanced Healing One in 2013.

With Master Zhao’s blessing, they created the Picard Stanton Institute (PSI) with Alexandra Plattos Sulack in 2017 to teach MZI workshops and integrate holistic techniques for musicians. They are humbled and honored to be the first students of Master Zhao to teach his methods outside of his institute.



  • To develop materials to advance MZI methods and better the life of musicians
  • To fill the void of body-mind connection in a musician’s development
  • To build a small, supportive community focused on furthering their career journey while practicing QiGong












contributor & editor

Master Zhao



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QiGong, pronounced / tʃ i ɡ ʊ ŋ /, translates to “Life Energy Information and Cultivation”, is an ancient Chinese holistic system of meditation and postures to maintain and improve your health and well-being.   

QiGong is:

  • about cultivating energy
  • a tool for change—physical, mental, your attitude, and behavior
  • a system of practices that benefits every facet of the person— body, breath, mind, emotions, soul—and influences behavior

QiGong is not:

  • a religion; is not based on a set of beliefs and has no theology
  • a physical fitness exercise program. 




  • Information is contained in all objects around us, so having better information can fill the void of and deepen the mind-body connection for a singer’s technique and journey.

  • Qi is different from various energy forms (light, wave, and field) in modern physics.

  • While the composition of qi still cannot be understood by modern science, nor be detected by instruments, various manifestations of qi can be felt and studied.

  • Qi is the origin of all substances and reflects the essence of nature.



When practicing QiGong, natural human energy, qi, is activated to balance and rehabilitate the body’s internal system and recover from daily stress and illness. Meridians are also cleared, and circulation is restored. Finding this important balance will improve every aspect of your life: your mental and physical health, your relationships, stress level, and work. With practice, you’ll develop a keener kinesthetic awareness of body and breath for singing and be better equipped to send correct brain signals to your body so your instrument is more efficient. 



Information is contained in all objects around us, so having better information can fill the void of mind-body connection for a musician’s technique and journey! Information is the essence of MZI QiGong and one of the best things about it is that these methods are easy to learn. Information activates energy and energy in turn carries information. If you’re dedicated, attentive, and practice, you will be able to activate your own qi for better health and singing. How amazing is that? 




  • To develop a relaxation response (increased blood flow and decreased work from muscles and organs) and fongsung (a relaxed awakeness, which combines energy and relaxation): 

-  For keener intention, integrated instincts, technique, and imagination for a richer, happier life in music
-  For optimal practice, study, and performance
-  To be in the moment and present for the task at hand
-  To release old thought patterns and muscle memory, and form new habits
-  For improvement, including dealing with performance anxiety

  • To optimize your SINGING PROCESS, activate relaxation response, fongsung, and qi flow for: 

COGNITION | a positive, receptive mind
RESPIRATION | an energized body work with breath
PHONATION | a focused, energized air flow
RESONATION | optimized resonators
ARTICULATION | balanced use of tongue, lips, and jaw

  • To optimize PERFORMANCES, activate relaxation response, fongsung, and qi flow to: 

MENTAL | optimize mind/body connection
IMAGINATION | trust intentions for deeper connections
KINESTHETIC | feel nuances, resonance, and space



1. Connecting the dots:  There’s a TON of head nodding and thoughtful hmm’s during our classes, since learning about QiGong and qi explains the unexplainable. Our students immediately have a better understanding of sensations, how to feel truly centered, and understand the how's and why's of their body, technique, musicianship, etc. It’s stupid good!

2. Our students LOVE how easy these skills and postures are to learn. Yes, it’s EASY :-)!

3. Our students leave with calm, clear minds. Bonus, a clear mind!

4. Our students leave confident and know the information well for successful practice at home. You’re good to go as soon as the class ends—it’s a one-stop shop!





SL:  Starting the practice of QG has been a calming, anchoring experience for me. The concepts make so much sense. Integrating QG into my lifestyle has been a fluid thing, and fairly effortless. As a result, I am more present and focused on the moment. I find myself communicating with plants and trees with a new appreciation and viewpoint. Update, June 25: Learning the practice of QiG has given me a new clarity. Big and small decisions of life all have their honored place and distinction, without emotional or excess baggage attached. Thank you to all QG instructors for sharing your work!

RG:  QG has opened me to think in broader sense other than my own little concerns. Others have same fears,stage fright,comparisons going in their heads,etc. this gives me a more confident, settled mental state. the breathing is so calming. Can only practice in very small time frames but remember so well time we spent on that Saturday. Thank U for giving me that opportunity!

RG:  I thought the class was great. The information was very interesting, easy to understand, and practice. The 3 positions and 2 methods were not only talked about, but were demonstrated, followed by the class being able to practice. I practice QiGong everyday when I get up in the morning to start my day.  The class was a positive, relaxing and engaging experience. All the participants were open minded and looking forward to the benefits and understanding of QiGong which made me feel relaxed and comfortable with this new experience. When I practice I start to feel relaxed and centered. The palms of my hands and feet are warm, and the stress in my shoulders goes away. When I finish practicing I feel good. As a new student I am still in the learning and exploring stage of the benefits both to my physical health and voice with the practice of QiGong.

LH:  I really enjoyed my first experience with MZI QiGong, and I am already anticipating future classes. I have found that practicing QiGong has already improved my stress level and ability to stay grounded, both in work and in my singing. 

APS:  Learning and practicing IRQ gave voice to sensations I've felt for a long time. It has been so comforting to define qi, how to cultivate it, collect, and detox. Through my practice, I've found ways of grounding myself and focusing my mind, which is so important with my artist's lifestyle of constantly running from place to place. 

SO:  When I took the MZI Qi Gong Class, I got instant mind-body connection in a way that I've never felt before. When I feel overwhelmed or exhausted the Qi Gong practice brings me right back to my center and I let the Qi guide me back to what's important and valuable in my life. 

DH:  Unfortunately, I haven't been consistent in my practice.  I’m finding that my that my free time is usually on the train which is not the best place to gather Qi. However, I try to practice before I go to sleep and I talk to my bamboo everyday.  Also, I found some bamboo food that seems to be working. I don’t know if this will help but here’s an observation:  Annie and Sean’s presentation was the clearest explanation of Qi that I've heard. Their approach made practice and application accessible which has not been my experience in the past. In identifying Qi as the energy behind singing I’ve been able to reconcile the varying models of performance psychology into one tangible practice.

TF:  I was blessed to participate in Annie and Sean's class a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I tried to approach the subject with an open mind. I was very impressed with not only the course but the organization of the class. The concepts were very approachable and plenty of examples were given. I experienced a lot of emotional and physical responses during the day. I became aware of stress in my body where I didn't know I carried it, and I was able to acknowledge some inner emotional conflicts as well. Since the class I have been happily practicing as much as I can. I feel more balanced and self aware, and overall more hopeful. 

OP:  I practiced outside yesterday and it was so beautiful, I feel like the Qi is getting stronger with each practice :-). I feel like it is already taking a positive effect in my life I am more positive especially in the morning and I am trying to make it a habit before I practice so that I can incorporate it when I am singing. My singing is already more free and my body feels less tense. I found it interesting that parts of my body were sore on the 3rd day, that was fascinating.

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Qi and QiGong for Singers

In this introductory, 60 or 90 minute presentation, participants will learn what QiGong is, how to feel your body’s energy and the information around us, and how this can be applied to assist in effortless singing. Our presentation will start by introducing QiGong, the basics of qi, and how to use qi in everyday life. Then all participants will learn a simple QiGong exercise together to feel and experience qi. The presentation culminates in explaining the basics of integrating qi and singing, which once understood, aids in effortless singing.

Community Practice

An informal get-together where students share their experiences, ask Sean and Annie questions about their practice and progress, then practice QiGong together as a group. A potluck follows. There's always lots of good food, fun, and good Qi!



The Institute

It’s an eight-hour, one-day workshop: 2 3-hour sessions with an extended break for lunch and practice. During the two sessions, Sean and Annie teach 3 postures and 2 energy methods, plus teach techniques to integrate QiGong with your practice and performance. The schedule allows for guided practice time for each skill to ensure everyone experiences sensations for successful practice at home. 

Advanced Integration Techniques

A five-hour class: 2 2-hour sessions with an extended break for snacks and practice. Sean and Annie teach advanced postures which focus on identifying Qi flow to further integrate QiGong with practice, performance, and technique. As with all our offerings, the schedule allows for guided practice time for each skill to ensure everyone experiences sensations for successful practice at home. 

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QiGong is one of our favorite topics to chat about, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re here to help!