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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629178 02/27/11 12:51 PM
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Keyboardklutz and Nyiregyhazi,

I'm enjoying your argument, lots to learn by this friendly discussion smile

but....

Shake hands and make friends LOL


John


"My piano is therapy for me" - Rick Wright.
Instrument: Rebuilt Kurzweil K2500XS and a bunch of great vintage virtual keyboards. New Kurzweil PC3X.
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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629188 02/27/11 12:59 PM
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I don't hold any personal grudges and have no interest in anything personal with kbk. However, I do reserve the right to object to public promotion of the idea that "stiffening" the wrist is necessary. This method that would never enable relaxation at all in pieces like the Alkan. KBK can heckle away but I'm not going to be drawn into anything outside of the topic of technique.

Re: how to relax right hand
keyboardklutz #1629191 02/27/11 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Yes, I'd rather raise awareness of the basis that can creates enough physical ease of movement for even such extreme things to become possible- rather than upload a film of myself playing a piece for reasons that are unclear.
Well ya know what they say - talk is cheap!


If you're asking for what I believe you called a "pissing contest" here is a film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD-3-YZvws8

Far from a particularly good model to follow I'm afraid (with my technique currently undergoing countless changes since then) although- yes, I can indeed play the piano. Do you have any more heckles to make, or are you going to stick to the topic now?


Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629193 02/27/11 01:06 PM
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Late in the game, but the trick did to me was not focus on the tension on the wrist, arms and shoulders.

Check your elbows. Most of times your elbows should be right next to your body (of course I am not talking about pieces where your both hands spread to both end of the piano). Particularly, when your shoulder is tense, we tend to stick elbows out since you are lifting your shoulders.

My teacher tricked me into fixing the tensions. She never said "Loosen your wrist, shoulders etc" instead she kept saying "Hey your elbows are out there, try playing the section with the elbows in, its okay, you can hit wrong note". So I completely forgot about my "tension" problem. All my attention was on my elbows. Then my teacher hysterically laughing and told me, "Look your tension is gone now". She also said that it's important to try to play with your elbows tucked in (should be almost touching the sie of your body) as much as you can. She demonstrated the way I was playing, sticking my elbows out (maybe because I was lifting my shoulders?) and said, "how can anyone play this. it is difficult to play well like this. it's not natural". Anyway, this one worked wonderfully for me. I hope it works for someone else too.

Re: how to relax right hand
FarmGirl #1629204 02/27/11 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
Late in the game, but the trick did to me was not focus on the tension on the wrist, arms and shoulders.

Check your elbows. Most of times your elbows should be right next to your body (of course I am not talking about pieces where your both hands spread to both end of the piano). Particularly, when your shoulder is tense, we tend to stick elbows out since you are lifting your shoulders.

My teacher tricked me into fixing the tensions. She never said "Loosen your wrist, shoulders etc" instead she kept saying "Hey your elbows are out there, try playing the section with the elbows in, its okay, you can hit wrong note". So I completely forgot about my "tension" problem. All my attention was on my elbows. Then my teacher hysterically laughing and told me, "Look your tension is gone now". She also said that it's important to try to play with your elbows tucked in (should be almost touching the sie of your body) as much as you can. She demonstrated the way I was playing, sticking my elbows out (maybe because I was lifting my shoulders?) and said, "how can anyone play this. it is difficult to play well like this. it's not natural". Anyway, this one worked wonderfully for me. I hope it works for someone else too.




Hi FarmGirl,

I was watching this video yesterday, a friend mentioned she played rather well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1h2ezBuQyc

But look at her elbow movement. I thought it was exagerated and not sure it was a model to follow; somehow it didn't look right. However, I do notice that when I have to make a sharp pivot on one of my fingers to reach another note (scales example); I do have to, or tend to, push out my elbow somewhat. Along with leaning my body toward that part of the keyboard, I find it helps. Is it right ? it "feels right" if it is not exagerated but for the rest, I dunno!

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
Nyiregyhazi #1629211 02/27/11 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Originally Posted by keyboardklutz
Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
Yes, I'd rather raise awareness of the basis that can creates enough physical ease of movement for even such extreme things to become possible- rather than upload a film of myself playing a piece for reasons that are unclear.
Well ya know what they say - talk is cheap!


If you're asking for what I believe you called a "pissing contest" here is a film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD-3-YZvws8

Far from a particularly good model to follow I'm afraid (with my technique currently undergoing countless changes since then) although- yes, I can indeed play the piano. Do you have any more heckles to make, or are you going to stick to the topic now?




Nicely played smile

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
achat #1629234 02/27/11 02:02 PM
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Yeh, that's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aD-3-YZvws8) real helpful (not) - shame you can't just help out. Here is how to do the first half of rosina's Diabelli. It's the nastiest keyboard (and the wrong height) so any more will need to wait till I get home. This is one way to play it. Drop and flop on the beginning of each two bar section. Make sure you have dropped your weight into the keyboard before you flop - most flop too soon.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629245 02/27/11 02:23 PM
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I am not interested in any contest with you kbk (regardless of whether you might happen to be engaged in one) and I am not going to waste any more time responding to personal digs. If you're going to make any of more your posts personal (rather than base them upon the subject matter) that will be going straight to the moderators, rather than met with a response.

Re: how to relax right hand
John_In_Montreal #1629257 02/27/11 02:39 PM
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two points.

1) "the elbow tucked in" is your base position. from where you deviates to play the notes up and down on the scale towards the end of the keys and provide special phrasing. notice in the video below, Aimi always come back to her base position. Aimi is IMHO the best of all the prodigies (definately at least in Japan). she will come to Carnegy Hall in April or May of this year. I think the lady in your video is doing the same thing but she appears to me still a little tense.. Aimi is young but much more seasoned as a professional. So it is a better example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYi6BQlBCl8&feature=related

2) Your point, "However, I do notice that when I have to make a sharp pivot on one of my fingers to reach another note (scales example); I do have to, or tend to, push out my elbow somewhat. Along with leaning my body toward that part of the keyboard, I find it helps." having to move your body to play the end of your scale is absolutely correct. My teacher says I should lean toward it as much as I can but should develop more flexible wrist (slowly) so that I can play it without my wrist sticking out. When we are playing a piece, you cannot help it to stick out your elbows or learn the technique to slide your finger to the next key.. Anyway, most of the beginner pieces are contained within the area where you don't need to get into advanced phrasing technique (i.e, some emphatic chords played with the arms not with the wrist etc).

3) I think it's important play with supple wrist. Adults try so hard to pay attention to the wrist and fingers. The strength of attention many times becomes the source of the tension and make it worse. That's the essense of the advise - she is not saying to play with the elbows tucked in all the time at any moment. It's your base posion - learn it well and then deviate from it as it becomes necessary.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629264 02/27/11 02:47 PM
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I agree in many ways with elbow idea, but "tucked in" I would have to disagree with very much. In many pianists this could actually cause a lot of stiffening in the shoulders and could easily be misunderstood. This might be a good way to fix excess outward movements in the short term (and may be exactly what you currently need), but I'd be very careful about using that as a one-size-fits-all fix or a long-term style of thinking. In fact, one rather common problem is to see kids who actively rest their elbows against their torso. Even overrelease can cause this, so thinking of actively pulling elbows in could potentially cause major problems to some.

If a pianist hangs the arm between shoulder and finger they can totally release all the muscles in between. The elbow will naturally slumps inwards by itself- it shouldn't require any active "tucking in" whatsoever. However, this position will likely leave the 5ths grossly off line for the keys. Once you are truly accustomed to the most released state of all, a little outward drift is almost always required- just nowhere near as much as some pianists end up doing.

Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1629423 02/27/11 06:17 PM
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Thanks for the demonstration Keyboardklutz. I was very conscious about my wrists in todays practice and tried to keep them more relaxed. And it felt better. I will keep at it and hopefully it will improve my playing.

And I cant wait to see the doctor tomorrow. Hopefully she can help me, because the thumb on my right hand is getting numb from time to time frown

Re: how to relax right hand
FarmGirl #1630246 02/28/11 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by FarmGirl
two points.

1) "the elbow tucked in" is your base position. from where you deviates to play the notes up and down on the scale towards the end of the keys and provide special phrasing. notice in the video below, Aimi always come back to her base position. Aimi is IMHO the best of all the prodigies (definately at least in Japan). she will come to Carnegy Hall in April or May of this year. I think the lady in your video is doing the same thing but she appears to me still a little tense.. Aimi is young but much more seasoned as a professional. So it is a better example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYi6BQlBCl8&feature=related

2) Your point, "However, I do notice that when I have to make a sharp pivot on one of my fingers to reach another note (scales example); I do have to, or tend to, push out my elbow somewhat. Along with leaning my body toward that part of the keyboard, I find it helps." having to move your body to play the end of your scale is absolutely correct. My teacher says I should lean toward it as much as I can but should develop more flexible wrist (slowly) so that I can play it without my wrist sticking out. When we are playing a piece, you cannot help it to stick out your elbows or learn the technique to slide your finger to the next key.. Anyway, most of the beginner pieces are contained within the area where you don't need to get into advanced phrasing technique (i.e, some emphatic chords played with the arms not with the wrist etc).

3) I think it's important play with supple wrist. Adults try so hard to pay attention to the wrist and fingers. The strength of attention many times becomes the source of the tension and make it worse. That's the essense of the advise - she is not saying to play with the elbows tucked in all the time at any moment. It's your base posion - learn it well and then deviate from it as it becomes necessary.



Hi FarmGirl,

Sounds good to me! Thanks for the feedback. A perodic focus on the physical aspect of playing does have its place during practice but it should not become another source of worry or tension of course.

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
Nyiregyhazi #1630253 02/28/11 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Nyiregyhazi
I agree in many ways with elbow idea, but "tucked in" I would have to disagree with very much. In many pianists this could actually cause a lot of stiffening in the shoulders and could easily be misunderstood. This might be a good way to fix excess outward movements in the short term (and may be exactly what you currently need), but I'd be very careful about using that as a one-size-fits-all fix or a long-term style of thinking. In fact, one rather common problem is to see kids who actively rest their elbows against their torso. Even overrelease can cause this, so thinking of actively pulling elbows in could potentially cause major problems to some.

If a pianist hangs the arm between shoulder and finger they can totally release all the muscles in between. The elbow will naturally slumps inwards by itself- it shouldn't require any active "tucking in" whatsoever. However, this position will likely leave the 5ths grossly off line for the keys. Once you are truly accustomed to the most released state of all, a little outward drift is almost always required- just nowhere near as much as some pianists end up doing.



Hi,

I just experimented all of that and you are correct. I learned from the beginning that bench distance in relation to arm length is quite important, there has to be a bit of "elbow room" (pardon the pun) so your torso does not block arm movement. I am surprised at your observation of people who "rest their elbows against their torso" as it never occured to me that one would find it comfortable playing in that position! I'm sure their teachers will point it out to them.

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 #1630273 02/28/11 10:42 PM
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I didnt read this whole thread, but one piece of advice that helped me tonnes for relaxing each hand (mainly my right hand) is practicing hands separately.

I found it impossible to train my right hand to relax while playing hands together (even when I was playing a piece I had memorized very well). There's just too much to focus on.

If you are not already practicing HS, I recommend it will 100% of my will and being. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that by learning a piece HS before HT, you will also retain it in your memory for ages longer than you would by immediately jumping to HT practice.


Assigned:

Krebs, Suite No. 1 in D major - VIII: Gigue
Beethoven, Sonata in G major (1st Mov) - Op 49, No 2
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Nobuo Uematsu - Ahead On Our Way (FF7)

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Re: how to relax right hand
schlittk #1630455 03/01/11 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by schlittk
I didnt read this whole thread, but one piece of advice that helped me tonnes for relaxing each hand (mainly my right hand) is practicing hands separately.



Absolutely !! HS is a "must do" and "must learn", just like "thumb under" - basic technique.


"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 #1631189 03/02/11 04:50 AM
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I have a question, it's a shame kbk and nyithingy aren't around to bicker about it anymore.

How do I play fast, relaxed, forte, staccato scales the best possible way? the way I play it at the moment is to keep my wrists in an almost constant position vertically and sort of "peck away" at the keys, trying to use only the finger muscles in a... gripping motion I believe kbk would say, not using gravity or arm weight at all. The wrist is a tad higher than in my legato scales I would guess, to give the fingers some room to accelerate and quickly let go of the key again.

This goes okay for a while and there is no pain, just a feeling of a good workout the next day. However, it's not something I could do for 5-10 minutes without pause and I definitely feel that there is some tension and stiffness in my wrist in order to maintain constant height despite all the force being applied to the keys by my fingers.

By fast, I mean tempos of about 80 (4 notes per beat). So not Alkan-fast smile

Last edited by Bunneh; 03/02/11 04:52 AM.

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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1631318 03/02/11 11:19 AM
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Bunneh, apparently this is the thread that got kbk and N. banned. I just started reading it now.

When I do staccato, I would try to use the wrist in motion as well, like a whip. As you get your skills up, you get a lot of acceleration from the muscles under the knuckles but those will get tired pretty quickly.

Something has to lift up to detach the note for stacatto. You can lift the finger, but I don't do that. I lift the hand (flexing wrist) and then use that energy in the lift for the next downstroke.

My knuckles participate in this but all the movements are very small.


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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1631323 03/02/11 11:33 AM
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Thanks Jazzwee!
But wouldn't that still be around 5 wrist movements down/up per second? Is that doable? Maybe I could support just that pesky 4th finger with it. I think I might unconsciously do that anyway. Or maybe that's a really stupid idea and my hand will relax on its own as I get more used to fast staccato scales wink


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Re: how to relax right hand
achat #1631337 03/02/11 12:03 PM
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Think of each stacatto peck as a bouncing movement so the bounce conserves the energy for the drop for the next (the energy is conserved in the loose wrist).

The alternative is that each finger individually pushes the key. Instead of fighting the key with each finger, just allow the wrist to store that energy by allowing a little flex. When it comes down, the wrist then aids in the acceleration.

This is all subtle movement BTW. I was taught to do this with extreme wrist movements and I don't find a need to do that. When you're playing fast, there's no time.

For me personally, I don't flex the last joint in the finger. I play this from the knuckle and wrist and literally think of bouncing.








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