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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628375 02/26/11 08:58 AM
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Also, please either remove that quotation or place it in the context it occurred. What business do you think you have quoting one single sentence out of a post that was made a number of weeks ago? Are you a tabloid journalist or are you interested in sincere discussion?

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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628383 02/26/11 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ashat


Sounds very nice, but I'd work on using the hands more actively. There are various moments where straightening actions of the fingers can be seen kicking in and causing unwanted tensions. The problem is that it's very hard to simply do nothing. If the actions are not working faintly inwards, they often tend to jump into doing exactly the opposite instead. This is precisely why the old "imagine a ball" idea is commonly used. While shaping the hand can be overdone, this is a classic example of what can happen when you strive to avoid it too much (without having first done enough training to be able to forget about it, yet keep a good support).

There's a balance in the middle that I'd work on finding. It's perhaps more likely a memory of what it would be like to hold a ball, than a case of literally imagining one. The arms do look to be working quite hard as well. I'd stop from time to time and very slowly feel release in the wrist and elbow and see where that takes your arm.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628387 02/26/11 09:47 AM
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Fraser is a another one who's made it up himself. He has very large hands - what works for him may not for you.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628393 02/26/11 09:52 AM
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Kbk, you've repeated this about Fraser's large hands endlessly. Would you like to provide a specific explanation of the context behind your suggestion that it might only work for large hands- rather than vague innuendo? What specifically makes you wonder whether his advice would fail to work for a smaller hand? There are many cases where he speaks specifically with regard to smaller hands.

Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1628394 02/26/11 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Fraser is a another one who's made it up himself. He has very large hands - what works for him may not for you.


How exactly does his big hands change what he is teaching? And what does this mean: "Fraser is a another one who's made it up himself."

You post a lot keyboardklutz, yet you rarely say anything beyond a one liner, usually trying to oppose what someone has said. If you have a lot of knowledge, please share and be some sort of a help! For instance, you haven't helped me at all with your post smile

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628425 02/26/11 11:32 AM
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Big hands are heavy, stable hands - they're not going to necessarily need much support from the arm; others with smaller hands will need their wrists to work harder if they're to play using the same technique. Here's a start rozina - Fraser sanctioning Peter Feuchtwanger's technique of relaxing between notes - though Fraser never quite understands it's not a matter of 'letting the arch go' but of forming it as required:
Quote
Now about his technique. To my mind, it is great as far as it goes. He never mentions the arches of the hand, and I was interested to see whether this almost "flabby" starting point would lead his student into problems. Well, it was fascinating to see how the student would let the arch go completely whenever that was expedient, and whenever the arch was needed, it was THERE. He never spoke about it, but I saw! But would the others see - that is the question...

...I went through a long period of thinking my approach was the best, because it addresses certain things that I don't see anybody else addressing, and those things are causing lots of problems in lots of pianists. However now I see that although I may help many pianists, there are many others whom I would hinder more than help, because their internal process doesn't match mine - they need a Dorothy Taubmann or a Peter Feuchtwanger or a Carola Grindea or whoever. And my 'method" is constantly changing and evolving, as I learn from people like Carola Grindea or Raymond Banning and try to develop my own playing, with which I am far from satisfied.
I remember when he was learning from both Carola Grindea and Raymond Banning - not what I would call a pretty site.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628427 02/26/11 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi

You likely need more support at the finger. If your hand is too relaxed then obviously something else has to work to stop your hand falling off the keys. While all pianists need to be capable of a relaxed hand, it is impossible to stabilise your arm unless whichever finger you have depressed a key with is offering some support. Excessive relaxation will give your shoulders more to do. It's not simply "tense" or "relaxed".

It wouldn't be any big surprise that this doesn't trouble you earlier in the day- but the more you play, the more the results of what might initially seem a small effort will accumulate.



Hi Nyiregyhazi,

While I am aware that my arms, hands and fingers need support from "somewhere", my concern is with unnecessary tension and energy waste. Of course it is obvious to me that there needs to be a balance between tension and relaxed otherwise, yes, my hand would fall off the keyboard and my fingers would be mush.

I've been experimenting with various hand movements, positions, observing wether my wrists and/or fingers are too tense or too relaxed, etc. all this to improve technique, accuracy and speed.

I beleive one has to stop once in a while to observe and become aware of his entire body in relation to the art and act of playing the piano, especially at the beginning of piano study.

John

Last edited by John_In_Montreal; 02/26/11 11:59 AM.

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Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628428 02/26/11 11:44 AM
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Thanks Nyiregyhazi for your suggestions,

it looks like the science of the correct use of hands in playing paino is beyond me smile
Since usually I am better in learning things by looking at and copying than by following instructions, may I ask you to post a video of a piano player particularly correct in his movements?

Is Rozina a nice example, as a beginner?

Actually I have to say that I feel that having a bit more "heavy" and "large" hands, as usually men have, it is an advantage in playing, but I know that experts may easily contradict me with a lot of excellent women with small hands piano players smile


Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by ashat


Sounds very nice, but I'd work on using the hands more actively. There are various moments where straightening actions of the fingers can be seen kicking in and causing unwanted tensions. The problem is that it's very hard to simply do nothing. If the actions are not working faintly inwards, they often tend to jump into doing exactly the opposite instead. This is precisely why the old "imagine a ball" idea is commonly used. While shaping the hand can be overdone, this is a classic example of what can happen when you strive to avoid it too much (without having first done enough training to be able to forget about it, yet keep a good support).

There's a balance in the middle that I'd work on finding. It's perhaps more likely a memory of what it would be like to hold a ball, than a case of literally imagining one. The arms do look to be working quite hard as well. I'd stop from time to time and very slowly feel release in the wrist and elbow and see where that takes your arm.

Last edited by ashat; 02/26/11 11:47 AM.
Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1628429 02/26/11 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi

You likely need more support at the finger. If your hand is too relaxed...
A very poor excuse for having a perpetually tense hand. Be wary of posters who make up their own method - especially one that asks you to add tension at any other time than key depression. Double wary if asked for sources they reply:
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
I am the source.
Of a Matthay, Breithaupt, Deppe or even Taubman I would accept that. Toying with peoples' wellbeing is a serious concern.



I read and try out, or question, suggestions from everyone; keep what works and discard the rest.

J


"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
John_In_Montreal #1628432 02/26/11 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal


While I am aware that my arms, hands and fingers need support from "somewhere", my concern is with unnecessary tension and energy waste. Of course it is obvious to me that there needs to be a balance between tension and relaxed otherwise, yes, my hand would fall off the keyboard and my fingers would be mush.



Yeah, it's always a balance. I've been playing for many years, but I'm still finding place where I realise the faintest trace of non-legato or trace too much slack in the finger brings in a bit of unnecessary effort. If we were willing to fall off the piano, it would very obvious when the fingers are too relaxed. However, because we are not willing to fall off the keys, we often have very little awareness of how much continual effort the arm is subjected to. If the hand is not providing a very small but sensitively directed force to balance the arm, it cannot balance without a whole catalogue of needless efforts.

Re: how to relax right hand
WiseBuff #1628435 02/26/11 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by WiseBuff
John
I have the shoulder pain as well and believe that I lift it both in computer work and piano work. Lately sharp pain. Massage helps and more frequent rest stops at the piano where I consciously move my shoulder down. Probably we should evaluate how high we sit at the piano as well...Hmmmm Let me know if you find something that works for you.


Hi WiseBuff,

I've rechecked bench height, body movement (trunk, arms, hands) and such. I have no pain playing, just that I lift my shoulders when I play versus them being in a more natural and relaxed state otherwise so I do think it is tension related. I've yet to figure out why I behave that way but regular awareness may reveal the answer... Of course I'm probbly stressed out from the day's work when I practice in the evening! When I finally conenct with a teacher, this is one thing I will mention.

Thanks for the suggestions.

ohn



"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628436 02/26/11 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi

You likely need more support at the finger. If your hand is too relaxed...
A very poor excuse for having a perpetually tense hand. Be wary of posters who make up their own method - especially one that asks you to add tension at any other time than key depression.


Put whatever spin on it you like, but the reality is that a hand does not stay balanced upon the keyboard without effort somewhere. Either you can have a very small effort to in the hand (coupled with some support in the shoulder) or you can have effort in every single joint of the arm. Or you can fall of the keyboard. There's no "free" relaxation. The pragmatic reality is a choice between a very small effort in the hand (only in the finger that keeps the key down- the others can relax away) or various (additional- not spread) efforts in the whole of the arm.



Makes sense to me.

John


"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628439 02/26/11 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ashat
Thanks Nyiregyhazi for your suggestions,

it looks like the science of the correct use of hands in playing paino is beyond me smile
Since usually I am better in learning things by looking at and copying than by following instructions, may I ask you to post a video of a piano player particularly correct in his movements?



There are films of Volodos and Tatum that I included in my most recent blog post. Regarding what is "correct", there's no single "correct" use of the hands. All kinds of different means can work fine. What I'm seeking to raise awareness of in the blog is the specific physical state in which the arm can be balanced without internal efforts around the elbow and wrist (which it most certainly can, no matter how much other posters might wish to deny it). While the force required from the finger to maintain balance is very low (when directed exactly as needed), it certainly is not zero. This is more about what is (and is not) physically possible and how to achieve that state- rather than a very specific way of playing.

Re: how to relax right hand
Nyiregyhazi #1628444 02/26/11 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal


While I am aware that my arms, hands and fingers need support from "somewhere", my concern is with unnecessary tension and energy waste. Of course it is obvious to me that there needs to be a balance between tension and relaxed otherwise, yes, my hand would fall off the keyboard and my fingers would be mush.



Yeah, it's always a balance. I've been playing for many years, but I'm still finding place where I realise the faintest trace of non-legato or trace too much slack in the finger brings in a bit of unnecessary effort. If we were willing to fall off the piano, it would very obvious when the fingers are too relaxed. However, because we are not willing to fall off the keys, we often have very little awareness of how much continual effort the arm is subjected to. If the hand is not providing a very small but sensitively directed force to balance the arm, it cannot balance without a whole catalogue of needless efforts.



Hi Nyiregyhazi,

That also makes a lot of sense to me! Thanks

There is indeed a lot going on between brain and fingertip, quite a "balancing act" I'd call it.

John


John


"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628446 02/26/11 12:06 PM
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Thanks keyboardklutz. Its much better when you argument what you state. When quoting someone it would also be nice to post a link to the source so we can trust it more.

So I suppose there is not a definite technique. One has to find his own from experimenting and from learning from different resources. Most of all I guess I just need to listen to my body. Which sucks, cause I have to relearn pieces I already know by playing them hands separate to eliminate any movements that cause me pain. I can play scales without pain at the moment hands separate, but once I play any of my piece I start feeling discomfort.

I also came across the Taubman approach, but they seemed quite weird. And most stuff just didn't make any sense smile And I have a very hard time following something that I don't understand as well as making not sense.

Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1628448 02/26/11 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Big hands are heavy, stable hands - they're not going to necessarily need much support from the arm; others with smaller hands will need their wrists to work harder if they're to play using the same technique.


You state that as if it were fact but that is simply not true. Small hands and big hands alike can be loose in the wrist when balanced. If a pianist enters into the suspended chain state I am in the process of writing up, the wrist is suspended in the middle with no requirement of effort around that point. If the action is based on a sense of pulling (rather than pushing) there is no inherent destabilising of the wrist.

Think of a chain (which the arm is). If you push a chain it causes chaos (literally, with regard to "chaos theory"- it's staggeringly unpredictable). If you pull it from both ends it is stabilised in a very predictable way. It lines itself up as if by magic- with no internally generated forces being required. What you state as if it were fact is only applicable if a method is based on the erratic nature of pushing, rather than on the predictability of pulling.

It's simply a question of whether you use simple actions that lead to stability and predictability, or those that cause destabilisation. Only if you use the latter will a wrist need to stiffen.

Re: how to relax right hand
rozina #1628450 02/26/11 12:13 PM
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Hi Rozina,

I've been interested in the Taubman approach and have yet to get an answer back from a teacher here in my area. Some pianists swear by it, others have been able to maintain their careers by applying the methods after years of painful playing or almost permanent injury that would have put an end to their pianist careers. Search the YouTube for "Golandsky Institute", there are some interesting videos, although you don't see much up close.

When I finally start lessons I will post my progress and impressions of the Taubman approach.

John



"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
Re: how to relax right hand
John_In_Montreal #1628455 02/26/11 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by John_In_Montreal

I've rechecked bench height, body movement (trunk, arms, hands) and such. I have no pain playing, just that I lift my shoulders when I play versus them being in a more natural and relaxed state otherwise so I do think it is tension related. I've yet to figure out why I behave that way but regular awareness may reveal the answer... Of course I'm probbly stressed out from the day's work when I practice in the evening! When I finally conenct with a teacher, this is one thing I will mention.


John, from the simplest rational point of view, it strikes me that when pianists raised their shoulder (which I used to do a lot myself) there are two main probabilities for the cause. A lot of people give complex theories for this sort of thing, but personally I'm convinced it's actually a very simple issue of how you conceive the basic movements.

Firstly, do you think of forwards/backwards elements to your motions, or do you focus very much on aiming actions straight down with the whole arm? If you think too much about the keys going down, it can cause you to want to "get over the top" more to push them straight down. Thinking more about the forwards/backwards elements, with regard to the arm as a whole is probably a good idea.

Secondly (but possibly closely related to the first)- do you think too much of pushing perhaps? This may involve forward pressures, which can be healthy at times, for separate chords. However, as alluded to in my previous post, pushing inherently causes destabilisation, whereas pulling causes stabilisation. Once you have pushed up to a point, your shoulder will stay up or have to come back and start over. However, if you base it more on pulling, (without getting up from off the stool) the shoulders can never be displaced.

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 02/26/11 12:33 PM.
Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628459 02/26/11 12:31 PM
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Taubman talk quite a bit of nonsense but if you look under the hood it's mostly sound stuff - though it obviously varies from teacher to teacher.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1628464 02/26/11 12:36 PM
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I have had the same issue that I have worked on. I still revert back to raising my shoulders, especially when learning a new piece. It takes a lot of conscious effort to keep the shoulders down and relaxed, I also think of the weight of my arm depressing the keys, and not pushing them down. It takes a lot of time to break the habit but it's well worth it.


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