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#1775574 - 10/23/11 08:16 AM Relaxed staccato  
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,100
SwissMS Offline
2000 Post Club Member
SwissMS  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 2,100
Costa del Sol
Hello All,
I am an expat living in Switzerland and have been following the forum for a long time. I played as a child, then started playing again in 2006. I played through the Alfred Adult books and then entry level Chopin Nocturnes, Lisst, and Debussey, but my theory knowledge was seriously lacking. I had a 1 1/2 year hiatus from piano when we moved to Europe, because I had no piano, and I was busy trying to learn German! Now, I have a new Avant Grand N2, and I am starting over with a new teacher. I have started with the new Alfred's Premier series at level 4, and I love it! There are three books with CD's: Lesson, Performance, and Theory; and so far I love the variety of music. I skated through the Adult all in one books back in 2006, and I just didn't really learn enough. This time, I am taking it more slowly, but I think I am retaining more.

Yesterday in my lesson, I learned that I have been playing staccato less effectively than I thought. I am working on several pieces that have a mix of legato and staccato, such as Alberti bass with staccato. It seems I have very stiff wrists playing staccato. I just can't seem to get the bounce at the wrist. Either I play finger staccato or the whole arm gets involved. Because my wrists are stiff, my speed is limited. Know any helpful exercises?

Last edited by SwissMS; 10/23/11 08:24 AM.
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#1775714 - 10/23/11 01:11 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Brian Lucas Offline
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Brian Lucas  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Nashville, TN
Welcome back to piano! I'm sure your teacher will be giving you some good exercises to help you relax your wrist (and arm/fingers). A teacher is the best resources because they can observe your playing and give you specific things to work on.

Having said that, something I find helpful is to practice on a hard surface, like a table. I'm sure you've tapped your fingers on a table without even thinking about it. And without tension. If this is the case, just try to apply that same feeling to playing the piano.


-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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#1775818 - 10/23/11 04:51 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Andy Platt Offline
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Andy Platt  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Virginia, USA
A couple of exercises my teacher gave me which have been very helpful:

Hold your arms loose by your sides. Using one arm push the other up about halfway down the forearm. Make sure the only thing keeping that arm up is your other hand. Remove the hand - your arm should flop down. It probably won't because of the tension so learn to feel it and get rid of it. For the wrist, specifically, you should make sure your hand hangs limp as you raise the arm up.

Do very slow scales. On each key really really relax the wrist so your whole arm goes down and bounces back up. Have exaggerated (but "real", not "fake") up and down movements of your hand.

It takes a long time to get rid of the tension but it's so worth it (and I'm not rid of it yet, just a lot further down the road).


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

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#1776547 - 10/24/11 07:36 PM Re: Relaxed staccato [Re: SwissMS]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 6,451
ChopinAddict Offline
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ChopinAddict  Offline
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Land of the never-ending music
You could also try "Freeing the Caged Bird" by Barbara Lister-Sink.
Welcome back to the wonderful world of piano playing!



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