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#1264190 - 09/07/09 04:47 PM Re: Are you a desperado? [Re: keyboardklutz]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,464
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Nyiregyhazi  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,464
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by landorrano
If a musical instrument "feels pretty awkward" to you, you are going to transmit that mistrust to a student no matter what you say or try to demonstrate.
That's a very important point (I feel a thread coming on). The sign you are a good player is when you sense something as awkward but have no awkwardness interacting with it. It's a kinda out'a body thing. Poor players subsume the awkwardness as unnecessary tension and it disappears from their radar. In other words, never lose those initial awkward feelings - keep the feelings not the tension.

"You sense something as awkward but have no awkwardness interacting with it"? Well that was certainly an awkward sentence and I'm probably going to have an extremely awkward time in trying to interact with it. I'm really struggling to determine any faintly practical point, beneath all those vague, empty words.

"Poor players subsume the awkwardness as unnecessary tension"? So awkwardness is 'subsumed' into unnecessary tensions? Really? Unnecessary tensions don't CAUSE even greater awkwardness? Feelings of awakwardness just 'disappear' beneath the surface, when this happens? And feelings of awkwardness wouldn't suggest in any way that muscles ARE being subjected to unhealthy and unnecessary tensions in the first place (whether the player is aware of them or not) before anything starts to be 'subsumed'? I'm getting a strong suspicion that you are keen to use a new favourite word, but really haven't stopped to think your argument through.

It seems that you're trying to say is that you should feel that something is awkward but just not tense up when it becomes awkward? If that's the mind-set it sounds to me as being indicative of problems that have yet to be solved being left to their own devices- not a practical mantra. If feelings of awkwardness remain, you still have problems. Simple as that. Whether you're consciously tensing up as a result of them or not doesn't make that underlying awkwardness any better. You need to find the cause of that. It should not be there to begin with. In many cases, counterproductive tensions can be freed up very easily, once you have uncovered the reason why the mechanism is forced to resort to them. You can release those tensions a thousand times after the event, but until you understand why your body needs to keep resorting to them (by dealing with the underlying problem that continues to induce them) the real problem (or base level of awkwardness) never goes away. Just because you've never learned how to fully remove awkwardness while playing, does not mean that you should start preaching some absurd mantra about how feelings of awkwardness might supposedly serve a valuable purpose to others.

Are we talking about the kind of 'awkwardness' that might occur from a totally impractical basis for technique- say one in which the weight of the arms is never permitted to settle upon the fingers for an instant (forcing the muscles that support the arms mid-air to work extremely hard on a constant basis)? I can certainly see why feelings of awkwardness might never seem to go away, when following such a method...

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 09/07/09 07:21 PM.
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#1264249 - 09/07/09 07:13 PM Re: Are you a desperado? [Re: cruiser]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,464
Nyiregyhazi Offline
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Nyiregyhazi  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 2,464
Originally Posted by cruiser
Thanks for the link, kbk.

I seem to have been going on about this since joining the PW forums in Feb 2007 but believe me, the teachers I've tried so far have all been disappointing - no structured learning strategy designed to match my needs, no mention of how best to practice, no tailored technique exercises. As you yourself mentioned, I'll know when - if! - I find the right teacher!

Have you specifically requested this? While there are some teachers who might start imposing a regime on a new student from day 1, that would not necessarily be normal, even with a good teacher. Especially with older students. If you're looking for this kind of approach, it could be that there are teachers who could offer it- provided that they are aware of what you are looking for. I suspect that many teachers would be quite capable of giving useful advice in these respects, but would consider it patronising or off-putting to launch into such things with a new student. If they realise that you want them to run over the absolute fundamentals, I'd be amazed to think that there wouldn't be a teacher in your vicinity who could offer some good advice. A lot of very capable teachers would sooner keep a student happy, than risk being seen to come down upon them like a tonne of bricks from the very first lessons- and possibly put them off entirely. However, if a student makes it clear that they want to be led through the fine details, I'm sure that there are a decent number of teachers who can offer that.

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 09/07/09 07:27 PM.
#1264537 - 09/08/09 10:36 AM Re: Are you a desperado? [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington

Apprehension, anxiety, uncertainty, conflicting, or too complex thinking can create a heavy, unmanageable mindset that feels like stumbling and mumbling in our brains.

It comes from not giving clear, astute, one impulse directions to the body when moving about on the piano. Movements are "jabby", unspecific destinations such as an approximate area for the destination of the hand, instead of a shaped hand and finger trajectory heading to a specific note.

This is often a mishap because of physical size if you have a large hand and wide fingers, or if you keep your inner arms close to your body, the hand just doesn't travel well across the keyboard using a straight line or an arc, there is no freedom in motion.

I am suggesting that you listen to your self as it thinks through a piece you play well. Exactly what words to you use - make a list. Do the same with a piece you are seeing for the first time. Keep the music materials fairly simple if possible. And you don't have to do a lot - just get a sample of what is being said with your inner voice.

I am thinking there are "issues" in the way you approach your music from the first note onward - that the issues come from having your own sense of direction from having to find your own way on the piano.

I think my comments would apply to any self taught player - IF - the pianist were to willingly meet with a teacher who knows pedagogy and technique and body movement appropriate for the instrument, the pianist would get some new directions as to how to "BE" at the piano. Some examination of the brain and it's thinking process for making music, and the physical impulse that results from the thought being also examined for efficiency and effectiveness might make you a better, cleaner, controlled pianist.

The path to "bettering" yourself does not have to be painful or diminishing, although I know some would go that route. There are ways to get through this process of examining and restructuring and have it be a wonderful "freeing" experience. Once improvements start you begin to glide and thrive on the improvements.

I think I am feeling your "mindset" as being part of your problem as you have substituted what the teachers did not tell you (they may have not at all known these concepts) with your own mannerisms, unchecked, and the lack of information/guidance on their part, have left you without the efficiency you need. The "machine" (you) is off enough to provoke you in many, possibly, every way.

I am taking a risk by saying these things to you - we'll never know if I could find and fix what is bothering you - but I know I've done it for others in the past. I wish I could skype with you or see your playing videos as it would give me some "meat" for discussion of specific things - as would your "list" of your thoughts while playing.

So, it's brain and being at the piano that would need examination and gentle restructuring. There is also the possiblity that many helpful things that would have made the difference have not been in your keyboard orientation or in your playing experience to date.

I believe these things exist in us as "unfinished business."

I hope you don't feel picked upon, and if you totally object to this post, please say so. I can cease and desist easily.


Last edited by Betty Patnude; 09/08/09 10:41 AM.
#1264615 - 09/08/09 12:27 PM Re: Are you a desperado? [Re: Betty Patnude]  
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,946
theJourney Offline
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theJourney  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,946
Why not contact the abrsm and see if they have a teacher in or around your city? The abrsm progression of pieces and technique is very well thought out IMO. ABRSM is becoming more and more popular with adults.

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