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#1213248 - 06/07/09 10:10 AM Judge my playing  
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Hello. I started to play piano actively at old age, 17. Before that I had played some years unregularly and without a teacher. I still have no piano teacher who would told me the correct stuff about how to move your wrists etc. So I hope that you would tell me what I do wrong and what should I do more. I'm pretty happy with my left hand, I have more problems with my right hand. So here's a video of me playing Super Mario Air Platform theme.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHh4f66bobw

Edit. Come to think of it, this may not be the correct board for this.

Last edited by GaryOak; 06/07/09 10:22 AM.
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#1214139 - 06/08/09 04:11 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: GaryOak]  
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Wow! I thought you played that pretty darn good! that Super Mario stuff isn't easy, and you did well!

Thought your left hand was good! Kept time and good rhythm, but your right hand needs to ripple more! Some of my best students are also guitar players, and playing the guitar will really loosen up your fingers in your right hand! Your fingers just seemed a litle stiff, and need to be able to move a little better than they are.

Well, keep playing! You are doing great! smile


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#1214169 - 06/08/09 04:57 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Diane...]  
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Sounded like you were having a lot of fun with that! Your wrists seems a little stiff in places, but do you experience any fatigue while playing, or any soreness afterward? This is generally the best indicator that there is an issue. If not, you should be fine with this level of playing.

It's hard to tell with the recording quality, but perhaps you could use a little less pedal in places, just use your ears so harmonies don't blend or sound muddy.

What other thing have you been playing? What are your goals with piano? Anything in particular you'd like to learn how to play?


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#1214365 - 06/08/09 11:37 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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I like your hand shape. Good wrist position, too.


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#1214375 - 06/09/09 12:20 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Do you read music? Do you know scales, theory, things like that?

My impression is that you are starting with a lot of skills that most people may never attain, with any amount of practice or instruction. If I had the chance to teach you, I'd tell you to start with what you already have and just add to it. In other words, I don't think there is much at all to change about what you can already do, but you might want to branch out, over time.

But you would have to get lucky and find a teacher who is a fit for you!


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#1214406 - 06/09/09 02:41 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Gary D.]  
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Your hands/wrist are quite tense. God knows what's going on further up.


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http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1214503 - 06/09/09 08:18 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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Thank for your kind comments!

Diane and keyboardklutz: I haven't had much feedback about my technique but those are the most usual things I hear. What could I do to relax them?

Morodiene: I have never had any fatique or soreness in my right hand. Yes, I should use less pedal, with our piano even little use of pedal makes it sound muddy. I've been playing mostly video game music lately. I don't have any certain goals but I'd like to learn to play Those Who Fight from Final Fantasy VII.

AZNpiano: Really? I don't like my hand shape at all. Thing that ruins my normally good motivation sometimes.

Gary D.: "If I had the chance to teach you, I'd tell you to start with what you already have and just add to it"

That sounds interesting, could you explain that little bit more? And yeah, I can read music averagely and have practised some scales.

#1214688 - 06/09/09 12:47 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: GaryOak]  
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Originally Posted by GaryOak

Diane and keyboardklutz: I haven't had much feedback about my technique but those are the most usual things I hear. What could I do to relax them?
For a number of years have someone tell you, for about an hour a week, that your hands are not relaxed. Eventually you'll sort it. Check out the beginner hand position I teach here: http://www.youtube.com/isstip


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#1222457 - 06/25/09 03:42 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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This is Jenova from Final Fantasy VII. I tried to play more relaxed than in that Super Mario vid. Sorry about darkish quality, I had to use my brother's camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWi4IChD4GA&feature=channel_page

#1222514 - 06/25/09 08:24 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: GaryOak]  
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Originally Posted by GaryOak
This is Jenova from Final Fantasy VII. I tried to play more relaxed than in that Super Mario vid. Sorry about darkish quality, I had to use my brother's camera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWi4IChD4GA&feature=channel_page

It's a little better, but here are some things to consider:

-fingers not being used should not be lifted any higher than necessary for them not to play. This means non-used fingers should rest on the keys or barely above them. I noticed this mostly when you played octaves that the middle fingers were raised quite a bit above the keys and stuck out straight.

In order to reduce this, try playing a C major scale in octaves. First play Cs and hold it. As you hold, relax all the fingers not being used until they rest on the keys. Then play the next octave and do the same. You will have to go very slowly, and don't move on to the next octave until the fingers have relaxed.

-whenever you play a key, think more of a downward motion of the fingers being used, rather than an up and down to strike. There should be more a feeling of the weight of the arm coming to the point of the finger rather than just playing with your fingers. Think about weight distribution in general: something that weighs a lot can actually apply less pressure beneath it if the weight is spread out over a large surface area, right? And of course, the opposite is true: weight that is concentrated in a small surface area will apply more pressure.
formula for pressure

This is key for playing piano, as we concentrate the weight of the arm onto the tip of a finger, and it is the velocity at which we press the keys that creates the bigger sounds. Using gravity to help that velocity is the most efficient way because it requires little to no effort on our part.

To help with this, try some free falling exercises:
1) Take one hand and hold it high above the keys (about eye level), and then let it free fall onto the keys. Don't worry about hitting any one key, just whatever notes your entire hand hit. Be sure the hand and fingers are completely relaxed here, flopping like a dead fish smile.

2) Do this a few times to make sure that once you release your arm, that it is only gravity doing the work.

3) Repeat with the other hand.

4) Now do the same thing, but intend to free fall landing on only one finger. Be sure all the other fingers are not engaged as you repeat this.

5) Once that is easy, you can do the free fall from less of a height, and intend to hit a particular key. Try with each finger.

6) Repeat #4 & 5 with the other hand.

7) The hard part now, is to be able to still have a sense of free falling while your fingers are resting on the keys. To begin this process, do your free fall to your thumb from a few inches above the keys, and then play a two-note slur to finger 2 (that means connect from thumb to pointer), and then lift up the hand to the starting position. By playing legato from one finger to the next, you are transferring some of the free fall energy or pressure to the next finger. Be sure all other fingers are relaxed.

8) Repeat this two-note exercise going from fingers 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5, then repeat on the other hand.

9) Expand the scope of this exercise to encompass a 3-note slur, 4-note slur, and finally all 5 fingers played legato, being sure to lift up to your starting position at the end of each slur.

You may have to work on this over a series of days or even weeks, but it is well worth it.


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#1222517 - 06/25/09 08:32 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene, what about the release part of this? So the weight has gone onto the finger which presses the key. How do you reverse this?

#1222520 - 06/25/09 08:36 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Morodiene, what about the release part of this? So the weight has gone onto the finger which presses the key. How do you reverse this?


I'm not quite sure what you mean, keystring. The non-playing fingers must be completely relaxed and return to the starting position, which should be the entire hand floppy like a dead fish. Does that help?


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#1222522 - 06/25/09 08:41 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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What I mean is, you've played the note and your finger is depressing the key. What happens in the lifting part as you stop playing that note?

#1222531 - 06/25/09 08:50 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
What I mean is, you've played the note and your finger is depressing the key. What happens in the lifting part as you stop playing that note?


You return to completely relaxing that finger and the hand.


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#1222646 - 06/25/09 01:17 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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I'm still missing something here. If the weight of my arm has transmitted into the finger which has some "unrelaxed" quality so that it will end up pushing the key, then if I relax the finger it will crumble into the keys from the weight of the arm. What have I done about that? Is it possible that I've been playing the older way with mostly finger movement and that this way is unfamiliar therefore? When I began asking I was thinking in terms of a finger being lifted after playing, but there is no lifted finger here. How about the arm weight transfer - does it get lifted, or moved on to the next finger?

Oh, and thank you.

#1222656 - 06/25/09 01:37 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keystring]  
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Keystring:

There is a difference between "relax" and "rest." When you are standing and doing nothing, you are relaxing; however, your muscles are still at work to keep you standing against the gravity that pulls you down.

When you are resting, you are lying down and your muscles are at rest. You give in comopletely to gravity.

So, imagine your fingers relaxing on the keys. If your fingers are resting on the keys, then they will definitely fall flat and crumble into the keys.


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#1222669 - 06/25/09 01:59 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: AZNpiano]  
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I think you are missing the elephant in the room.

Every note sounds equally loud. It sounds very much like a DP recording with touch sensitivity turned off. No dynamics.


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#1222695 - 06/25/09 03:03 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: AZNpiano]  
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AZN, it might simply be impossible to picture in this medium. As I saw in Morodiene's description, we start with the idea of the weight of the arm transferring to the finger which ends up depressing the key. But what happens to the weight of the arm once the note has been played and the finger relaxes? What's gone down has to come up again or something like that (?) If you are not lifting the finger after playing, and if there's been a weight transfer toward the finger in some way, then what happens at the end of that? My questions do tend to come at the end of the note these days.

Last edited by keystring; 06/25/09 03:06 PM.
#1222710 - 06/25/09 03:35 PM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keystring]  
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It seems strange that no one else has mentioned anything about style, dynamics, accents, difference between the hands.

My point is that you can bring any style "alive" by doing something creative with it, in this case at least dynamics and articulation. That's what I totally missed hearing.


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#1222943 - 06/26/09 04:34 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Gary D.]  
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one thing my first teacher made me do, to check whether I'm relaxed or not, was to flap my arms while I was playing... like if you're trying to imitate a chicken... it doesn't work if your shoulders, etc. are tensed up... it looks utterly stupid, though, so you might not want to have anyone watch you wink


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#1222972 - 06/26/09 07:25 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
AZN, it might simply be impossible to picture in this medium. As I saw in Morodiene's description, we start with the idea of the weight of the arm transferring to the finger which ends up depressing the key. But what happens to the weight of the arm once the note has been played and the finger relaxes? What's gone down has to come up again or something like that (?) If you are not lifting the finger after playing, and if there's been a weight transfer toward the finger in some way, then what happens at the end of that? My questions do tend to come at the end of the note these days.


OK< I'll try to answer, and hopefully I get what you're asking. The forum is often difficult to explain such things!

So the weight of the arm comes down in free fall. That weight is focused on a finger to allow for greater efficiency. We are using gravity to depress the key, and gravity has a greater effect on a heavier object (the arm) vs. a lighter object (the finger). Once that energy of the free fall is transferred to the key, it dissipates into the instrument. It is not longer in the hands, and you are left with simply the effect of gravity on the arm at rest. The pressure of the free fall if gone at that point, and it is simply gravity itself holding down the key. This is important, because you never want to continue adding pressure to the key beyond gravity itself once you've played it.

So after you have played a note and you're left with only gravity from the arm holding down a key, it takes very little effort to then lift the hand off the keys from the wrist. Or if playing another note afterwards, you will simply be taking the weight of the arm away from the finger, so then you're left with only gravity affecting the finger, which is not enough to hold down a key.

The transfer of energy (the pressure) goes into the key. If you are playing more than one note, then you can also use that same energy to transfer some of it to the next note. Of course, there will be energy lost when you get to the 2nd, 3rd & 4th notes if you transfer. Think of a two-note slur. The first note is always heavier than the 2nd note, and there should be a downward motion of the wrist one the first note, and an upward motion of the wrist on the 2nd. It would take more energy to make the 2nd note equal in sound to the first, because it doesn't have the advantage of pressure from the arm weight free-fall. In order to make note 2 as loud (or louder) you have to bounce the wrist down with pressing the key, allow for that free fall motion to happen again.


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#1222977 - 06/26/09 07:37 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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keystring,
I think it might be helpful to think of Morodienne's description as partly a pedagogical metaphor.

There are aspects of it that, from a pure physics viewpoint, will seem either incomplete or simply wrong. Don't get sidetracked by that. The approach may still be highly effective at learning what you want to learn.



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#1223001 - 06/26/09 08:38 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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Morodiene, thank you - that's exactly what I was looking for. I've encountered the word "weight" before outside piano. I'm seeing it now as an energy or transfer from the arm to the finger, so dynamic rather than the static heaviness one associates with weight and gravity.

I need a teacher for working with this in any meaningful way - that may actually become possible - but in the meantime a couple of things have fallen into place that help me. Thank you for taking the time to explain. My apologies to the OP for horning in on the thread.

KS

#1223038 - 06/26/09 09:46 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: TimR]  
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Originally Posted by TimR


There are aspects of it that, from a pure physics viewpoint, will seem either incomplete or simply wrong. Don't get sidetracked by that. The approach may still be highly effective at learning what you want to learn.



I certainly am no physicist, but if I'm wrong about something, please let me know. I don't want to be saying confusing things or using terminology incorrectly. This is where a forum, unfortunately is so much more difficult to divulge the information. I'm forced to use words where I would simply show the person instead.


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#1223045 - 06/26/09 09:53 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: TimR]  
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TimR - just saw your post. Thank you for the concern. It would be foolish to use the Internet as an "how to" - This kind of thing requires one-on-one. However, Morodiene's explanation was crystal clear where it counted and gave me exactly what I was looking for. Let's say that something fell in place for me.

KS

#1223108 - 06/26/09 11:23 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I don't want to be saying confusing things or using terminology incorrectly.


You would not have been confusing to a layperson. You might have been to a physicist or engineer (like me) if we were in nitpicky mode. I wasn't sure of keystring's background, can't keep track of the players without a program. He indicates he understood clearly so all's well.

Last edited by TimR; 06/26/09 11:23 AM.

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#1333474 - 12/25/09 09:11 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: TimR]  
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Hey there! I've been playing and trying to improve my technique. Now I'm more confident in playing with dynamics but I still can't use my arms correctly. I've tried your practise tips but it's heck difficult to learn without a teacher.

Now I've been practising Chopin's Heroic Polonaise and I think I can play it fairly good. I wanted to ask you that what classical piece would be fine to learn after this, 'cause I really don't know much about classical music. And it's better that the piece isn't harder than Heroic Polonaise, 'cause this is far too difficult for my technical level :''D. Any suggestions?

Last edited by GaryOak; 12/25/09 09:18 AM.
#1486378 - 08/02/10 05:50 AM Re: Judge my playing [Re: GaryOak]  
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Hello there again, I'm here with a new video. I haven't had much time to practise lately but I guess I have improved at least a little. It's still quite hard to even practise to use wrists and arms better but I think I can improve in those too in upcoming years. So, this video is Yiruma's River Flows in You.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipiieHe46yU


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